The discovery of degrading paint made by Qatar Airways raised concerns over the safety of the planemaker’s jets.
Airbus has reportedly filed a $220 million claim against Qatar Airways in damages for two undelivered A350 jets to the airline and recover millions of dollars worth of credits.
The major turn of events in the dispute came after Qatar Airways decided to ground two additional A350’s. In total, the Qatar Civil Aviation Authority (QCAA) has grounded 22 Airbus A350’s since last year.
Qatar Airways took Airbus to a UK High Court over defects in Airbus’ A350 jets. The airline demanded $618 million in contractual compensation from the planemaker.
The surface degradation was discovered in late-2020 and early 2021 and involved the erosion of surface paint over the lighting protection on 21 airplanes.
The Qatari flag carrier said that the defects pose questions over the safety of the planes as Airbus insists that they are not a risk hazard. The grounded planes represent 40% of Qatar Airways’ A350 fleets.
In January, Airbus terminated a contract with Qatar Airways for 50 smaller A321neo jets in January. Such move has been described as “rare” in the aviation industry.
On Friday, Qatar Airways asked the court in London to restore their order for the 50 passenger planes or provide the airline with “unquantified damages” over Airbus’ decision.
Also known as “unliquidated damages”, the term describes “damages that are claimed for losses unforeseeable and are commonly awarded for cases involving a breach of contract.”
Last week, a UK judge ordered Airbus to postpone its decision to revoke a $6bn jet order from Qatar Airways. The order prevents Airbus from granting the same delivery slots to other airlines.
A hearing is scheduled to take place in April.
Airbus’ latest move also comes despite earlier statements made by its Chief Executive, Guillaume Faury, where he said the company sought an “amicable” settlement with Qatar Airways.
On Monday, Qatar Airways said it was surprised by Faury’s statement, noting that the airline “nor its legal team are aware of any efforts by Airbus to try to resolve the situation in an amicable way”.
“In fact, the actual situation is to the contrary. Qatar Airways was surprised to see Airbus’ latest efforts to attempt to terminate their own contractual commitment to establish a full root cause analysis of the A350 Accelerated Surface Degradation,” it said.
In late January, Qatar Airways signed a major $34 billion deal with Airbus’ competitor, Boeing, in a bid to fill the aircraft supply gap.