On 20 January 2022, Qatar Airways, through the legal proceedings against Airbus in the Technology & Construction division of the High Court in England, sought an expedited hearing of a preliminary issue to address its “serious and legitimate safety concerns” regarding the surface degradation condition adversely impacting its Airbus A350 fleet which has resulted so far in 21 Airbus A350 aircraft being grounded.
As the video hereunder clearly shows, these defects are not superficial and one of the defects causes the aircraft’s lightning protection system to be exposed and damaged, another defect leaves the underlying composite structure exposed to moisture and ultraviolet light, and other defects include cracking in the composite and damage around a high percentage of rivets on the aircraft fuselage. Qatar Airways welcomes the decision of the court to expedite this issue and order a hearing in April in an effort to bring about a more rapid resolution to the dispute.
Qatar Airways continues to strongly believe that Airbus must undertake a thorough investigation of this condition to conclusively establish its full root cause in order to establish whether any proposed repair solution will rectify the underlying condition and ensure no risk to the continued airworthiness of the aircraft.
Qatar Airways’ number one priority remains the safety of its passengers and crew. For this reason, all affected aircraft remain grounded, and the airline is unable to accept delivery of further aircraft tendered for delivery by Airbus.
Airbus has responded by seeking to cancel an entirely separate contract for the delivery of 50 A321neo aircraft. Qatar Airways confirms that it is adhering to all of its obligations under all applicable contracts. It is therefore a matter of considerable regret and frustration that Airbus has taken the apparent decision to expand and escalate this dispute.
Qatar Airways continues to urge Airbus to undertake a satisfactory root cause analysis into the cause of the defects, as it is required to do. Qatar Airways remains prepared to help with the root cause analysis however it can. In the meantime, it will continue to robustly defend its position in the legal proceedings.