The long-running dispute between Airbus and Qatar Airways has finally ended. Last night, both parties issued a statement to this effect.
The Airbus / Qatar Airways A350 dispute
Airbus and Qatar Airways have been in dispute since 2021 regarding the Airbus A350 aircraft in the fleet of Qatar Airways. Qatar Airways then claimed that the aircraft’s fuselage had degraded at an accelerated rate, and consequently, Qatar Airways began to ground A350 aircraft. Qatar Airways also made a stiff demand for compensation from Airbus.
While acknowledging the issue, Airbus said it was cosmetic damage, and they would offer to fix it for Qatar Airways and adopt new production techniques to ensure this problem won’t occur on newer jets. While Qatar Airways was backed by its regulator, the Qatar Civil Aviation Authority, Airbus had the backing of EASA, the European aerospace regulator.
At last count, 30 A350 aircraft of Qatar Airways were grounded. While other carriers also saw some degradation, they did not ground their planes as they deemed it a cosmetic problem.
Things escalated quickly, with Airbus cancelling the contract for further A350 aircraft (given Qatar Airways was refusing delivery of aircraft that were ready for them), and also, in a related move, Airbus cancelled the order for 50 A321neo jets as well. On the other hand, Qatar Airways sued them in London, and that case has been ongoing for a while.
Qatar Airways and Airbus settle the dispute.
Qatar Airways and Airbus announced last night that they reached an amicable and mutually agreeable settlement about the A350 issues. A repair project is now underway, and “both parties look forward to getting these aircraft safely back in the air.”
Per an identical statement issued by both parties, the details of the settlement are confidential, and both parties will proceed to discontinue their legal claims. The settlement agreement is not an admission of liability for either party.
It is interesting, though, about how this agreement was reached. In January 2023, the UK court where the case was being heard asked for proof of correspondence between Qatar Airways and the Qatar Civil Aviation Authority, which would show that the regulator asked for the grounding of these aircraft.
Airbus A321neo and A350 orders restored
While this is not publicly disclosed, Reuters reporting on the issue states that the cancelled orders for 23 undelivered A350s and 50 A321neos have been restored. Reuters also notes that Airbus is expected to pay the Gulf carrier, but not to the tune of billions of dollars as expected. Qatar will get the A321neos three years later than expected, in 2026.
The long-drawn legal challenge between Airbus and Qatar Airways is finally over, as the two sides have come to an agreement about their issues, and they will withdraw their legal claims against each other. Airbus will work with Qatar Airways to help get their grounded A350s back in the air again, and per some reports, they will also get back in the queue to purchase more A350 aircraft and A321neos from Airbus.
What do you think of this resolution?
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