The feud between Airbus and Qatar Airways has reached new heights: Airbus has cancelled an order for 50 A321neos from Qatar Airways, an unprecedented decision taken in the context of its dispute with the Qatari company over paint problems on its large A350 aircraft.
The cancelled contract was concluded ten years ago and then represented $4.6 billion at list prices.
Airbus confirmed this decision just hours after the announcement by the British courts that the first hearing on this commercial dispute would take place during the week of 26 April. This complaint was filed in December by Qatar Airways.
“We confirm that we have terminated the contract for 50 A321s with Qatar Airways, in accordance with our law,” an Airbus spokesperson told AFP, confirming information from Bloomberg.
Qatar Airways, of which some of the A350s are grounded by the Qatari air authorities, is claiming more than 600 million dollars in compensation from Airbus, arguing design flaws in these planes. The company has refused to accept other A350s since last June and claims to have noticed accelerated wear of the paint on some of the aircraft already received. Airbus, for its part, acknowledged the existence of technical problems, but denied any safety problems.
Airbus has rejected the complaint “in full” and accuses Qatar Airways, a public company, of having influenced its supervisory authority to obtain the immobilisation of the planes concerned in order to obtain compensation.
Qatar Airways is expected to challenge the cancellation of its A321neo order, since the company intends to have the aircraft delivered after it cancelled an order for Boeing 737 MAX aircraft in 2020.