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.
Qatar Airways loses rights to 50 A321neos per London High Court order.
Qatar Airways lost its appeal in the London High Court today for having rights to the 50 A321neo order, which Airbus cancelled. As per a Reuters report today, a British judge denied a request by Qatar Airways to force Airbus to keep building A321neo jetliners in a setback to the airline as part of a broader legal dispute.
The decision means the European planemaker can market the in-demand jets to other airlines. At the same time, the two sides pursue a separate dispute over the safety of larger A350 jets.
Airbus revoked the order in January 2022, using a cross-order clause where Airbus stated that Qatar Airways’ refusal to take delivery of the A350 aircraft is a default on the part of Qatar Airways. In January, Qatar Airways won a temporary restraining order, but the London High Court has ruled now that Airbus was within its rights to cancel the contract.
Qatar Airways was supposed to receive the first A321neo aircraft in 2023, with deliveries planned through 2032. These aircraft can now be sold to other carriers. The A320neo family aircraft are in high demand, and these slots should be taken up in no time.
Qatar Airways stands to lose the slots for the Airbus A321neo aircraft that it was supposed to receive from 2023 onwards. 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 twist in the Airbus and Qatar Airways saga?
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