Qatar Airways had last year begun to ground some of their A350 aircraft on the assessment and advice of the Qatari aviation regulator. They further sued Airbus for compensation on the back of this grounding in the London High Court. Airbus took a stand that the degradation of the paint on the A350s was not as bad to require grounding. However, on the back of Qatar Airways’ refusal to accept further A350s produced for them, Airbus cancelled the order for 50 A321neo jets. Qatar Airways signed up for Boeing 737 MAX aircraft a few days after, along with the 777X Freighter.
About a month ago, the London High Court ruled in favour of Airbus concerning the right to cancel Qatar Airways’ A321neo order and put it out again for other customers to take the slots.
Airbus can continue to ‘attempt’ delivery to Qatar Airbus for new A350s
Today, a British judge granted Qatar Airways a relatively speedy trial but denied many of the other procedural requests from the airline. As per a Reuters report today, Airbus is free to attempt to keep delivering A350s to Qatar Airways and trigger payment clauses, or to sell rejected planes to other airlines.
Qatar Airways currently has 21 A350-1Ks on order, some of which are ready for delivery. However, Qatar Airways has refused to pick them up so far. Many of the existing A350-900 and A350-1000 aircraft of Qatar Airways are also currently grounded. In the interim, the airline is leasing aircraft from other carriers, such as Cathay Pacific, to offer its services.
The report states that the trial window could start in June next year and last three months. In the interim, the FIFA World Cup 2022 will be over, and since it will be held in Qatar, guess who will not have the jets to bring in the passengers from around the globe?
Interestingly, the court also noted that big money was being spent on the litigation. It said,
The costs for both sides are way over the top in my judgment. There is far too much time that is being spent here.
Qatar Airways can now either take the A350s ready for them or lose them to other airlines. Unless Airbus and Qatar Airways reach a compromise, Airbus is free to market these jets to other airlines now. However, it remains to be seen if Qatar Airways will work towards a settlement or not now.
What do you think of this new development in the Airbus and Qatar Airways saga?
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