Airbus cancels $ 6 billion contract with Qatar Airways after paint fight Business and economic news

Qatar Airways called Airbus’ decision “a matter of great regret and disappointment” amid a court battle over peeling paint.

Airbus has canceled a $ 6 billion contract with Qatar Airways for 50 of its new A321neo passenger planes, escalating a lawsuit between the two companies over the paint of the recently delivered A350.

Qatar Airways called the decision of Airbus, announced on Friday, “a matter of great regret and disappointment.”

In December, Airbus was sued by Qatar Airways in London after a series of alleged problems with the Airbus A350.

The airline complained that the paint on the recently delivered Airbus A350 was cracking and flaking, revealing copper nets used to insulate the plane against lightning strikes.

He is seeking more than $ 600 million in compensation after grounding the affected plane – 21 of his 53 A350 planes – claiming the paint problem poses a safety risk.

The deal is said to be worth $ 6.35 billion when it was finalized in December 2017.

Qatar Airways posted a video on social media on Friday of marks on the outside of the landed A350s, which the airline said highlighted “serious and legitimate safety concerns”.

cracked paint up closeAn undated image shows peeling paint, cracking and exposed expanded copper foil on the fuselage of a Q3ar Airways A350 aircraft [File: Edgar Su/Reuters]

The European Union Aviation Safety Agency independently assessed the problem and found no safety concerns.

“There is no reasonable or rational basis for Qatari regulators to ground the A350 operated by Qatar Airways,” Airbus said in documents prepared for a hearing in a London court on Thursday.

He accused Qatar Airways of causing the shutdown because it was in his own financial interest to keep the plane on the ground in light of the collapse of the coronavirus pandemic in search of air travel.

Qatar Airways dismissed the allegations in a statement Friday.

“These defects are not superficial and one of the defects is causing exposure and damage to the aircraft’s lightning protection system,” the statement said. “We continue to urge Airbus to undertake a satisfactory analysis of the root causes of the defects.

A Reuters investigation found that at least five other airlines reported defects in the paint or leather of the 2016 A350, long before Qatar expressed concern in November 2020, when an attempt was made to repaint an airplane in World Cup livery. revealed about 980 defects.

Airbus said it was considering redesigning the anti-lightning network for the future A350, but insisted there was adequate backup lightning protection. It says Qatar is undermining global protocols by looking for security levers.

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