Money & BusinessQatar

Airbus calls off its A350 jet deal with Qatar in months-long public battle

Airbus has revoked its entire outstanding order from Qatar Airways for A350 jets, severing all new jetliner business with the Gulf carrier in a dramatic new twist to a dispute clouding World Cup preparations, two industry sources said.

No comment was immediately available from Airbus or Qatar Airways.

The two aviation titans have been waging a rare public battle for months over the scarred condition of more than 20 long-haul jets that the airline says could pose a risk to passengers and which Airbus insists are completely safe.

Qatar Airways, which was the first airline to introduce the intercontinental jet to the skies in 2015, is suing Airbus for at least $1.4 billion after almost half its A350 fleet was grounded by Qatar’s regulator over premature surface damage.

It has refused to take delivery of more A350s until it receives a deeper explanation of damaged or missing patches of anti-lightning mesh left exposed by peeling paint.

Backed by European regulators, Airbus has acknowledged quality problems on the jets but denied any safety risk from gaps in the protective sub-layer, saying there is ample backup.

Until now, the dispute has had a piecemeal effect on the order book for Europe’s biggest twin-engined jet as first Airbus, then Qatar Airways, terminated some individual jets.

Now, however, Airbus has told the airline it is striking the rest of the A350 deal from its books, the sources said, asking not to be identified as discussions remain confidential.

At end-June, the European planemaker had outstanding orders from Qatar Airways for 19 of the largest version of the jet, the 350-passenger A350-1000, worth at least $7 billion at catalogue prices or closer to $3 billion after typical industry discounts.

The sweeping new A350 cancellation comes six months after Airbus also revoked the whole contract for 50 smaller A321neo jets in retaliation for Qatar refusing to take A350 deliveries.

The spillover to a different model was branded “worrying” by the head of a body representing global airlines, the International Air Transport Association. 

The latest move is likely to widen a rift between two of the flagship companies of close allies France and Qatar.

Barring an elusive settlement, the dispute is already set for a rare corporate trial in London next June.


Khaleej times

Related Articles

Back to top button