A hearing is scheduled to take place next month in an effort to reach a rapid resolution for the Qatar Airways and Airbus dispute.
Qatar Airways has dismissed allegations made by Airbus that it owes them $220 million in compensation for refusing to accept A350 deliveries.
The Qatari airline revealed in documents disclosed to the public on Monday that it did not sever its contract with Airbus when it rejected taking two A350 jets. It also said that the manufacturer had not provided details as to how it had arrived at that amount, according to Bloomberg.
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.
Qatar Airways, which has requested more than $600 million, further reiterated that the surface paint issues could place it under vulnerability to damage from a lighting strike.
Upon responding to the European Union Aviation Safety Agency, which has backed Airbus’s argument that the planes do not pose any safety concerns, Qatar Airways said that the agency has not undertaken an “extensive analysis.”
Qatar Airways has also recorded other carriers that have raised concerns with the A350. The carriers include Finnair Oyj and Cathay Pacific Airways Limited, which have both flagged questions from 2016, before the Hong Kong carrier later reported problems with multiple planes. By October 2019, “Etihad and Air France/Air Caraibes Atlantique had also reported such damage,” Qatar Airways reported.
The Gulf carrier and Airbus both disagree over whether the latter has assessed the cause of the issue and found the appropriate solutions. The planemaker offered a “patch repair for one aircraft” which Qatar asserted demonstrated failings after a week.
In its own official documents, Airbus said that the cancellation of a separate A321 order for Qatar Airways does not mean there is more capacity for the “oversubscribed model.” The manufacturer said it “builds some customer attrition into its business model.”
A judge is scheduled to rule in April on whether the A321 cancellation is allowed to stand. Airbus has temporarily enlisted the Qatari airline back into its plans, it said. It “estimates it could deliver the first aircraft around the fourth quarter of 2023,” as opposed to the original delivery date of February of the same year.
Qatar Airways and Boeing contract
Qatar Airways inked a major $34 billion deal with Airbus’s competitor, Boeing Company in January.
The contract was signed during the Amir’s Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani visit to Washington, which saw the airline’s order placement of 50 Boeing 737 Max 10 jets. The airline also enlisted itself as Boeing’s launch customer for the planemakers latest 777-8 freighter.