A hearing is scheduled to take place in April “in an effort to bring about a more rapid resolution to the dispute,” amid escalating legal battle with Airbus.
Qatar Airways has asked a United Kingdom court to restore their order for 50 Airbus A321neo passenger planes or grant the airline “unquantified damages” over the plane maker’s decision to revoke, as it prepares to receive the 220-seat A321neo in February 2023.
Unquantified damages or unliquidated damages are “damages that are claimed for losses unforeseeable and are commonly awarded for cases involving a breach of contract.”
The court filing comes as part of an active case between Airbus and Qatar Airways at a UK High Court regarding Airbus’ A350 contractual and safety dispute. The ordeal has been described as an “exceptionally rare” public conflict in the aviation industry.
This follows the recent UK judge’s order that the plane manufacturer should delay its decision to withdraw a $6 billion jet order from Qatar Airways. The court order prevents Airbus from granting its early delivery slots for its highly-demanded A321neo jets to other interested airlines.
Qatar has further requested the UK high court to order Airbus not to resell the A321neo planes. As it stands, the plane maker is sold out until 2028 on that specific model, and if they do not follow through with the court order, Qatar will be confronted with “severe disruption.”
Airbus has been instructed to maintain the status quo until the hearing due in April this year.
Escalating legal dispute
In late 2020, Qatar Airways discovered paint erosion on 21 aircrafts as well as deterioration in the anti-lightning protection on long-haul jets, which Airbus has insisted are not a risk hazard.
The Qatar Civil Aviation Authority decided to ground the planes last year.
The national carrier has since prevented the 21 jets from flying and has recently, as the new filing reveals, further grounded an A350 on February 13.
Qatar Airways took the case to court in December and demanded $618 million in contractual compensation from Airbus. In turn, Airbus halted its contract with Qatar Airways for 50 new A321neo jets in January.
The sudden decision took the Gulf airline by surprise, saying that it is “a matter of considerable regret and frustration.”
Qatar Airways and Boeing contract
Qatar Airways signed a major $34 billion deal with Airbus’ competitor, Boeing.
The contract was inked during the Amir’s visit to Washington in late January, with the airline placing an order of 50 Boeing 737 Max 10 jets as well as becoming Boeing’s launch customer for Boeing’s latest 777-8 freighter.