Dispute over the A350: Airbus and Qatar Airways reach an “amicable” agreement, announces the aircraft manufacturer

Qatar Airways sued Airbus in the UK courts. Christian Hartmann/REUTERS

“The details of the agreement are confidential and the parties will now end their legal actions,” Airbus said in a statement.

Eighteen months of clashes then the armistice: Airbus and Qatar Airways sold out on Wednesdayamicablytheir dispute over the fuselage surface of part of the Gulf company’s A350 fleet that it had grounded.

Qatar Airways and Airbus are pleased to have reached an amicable and mutually acceptable settlement regarding their legal dispute over A350 surface degradation and aircraft grounding“, According to an Airbus press release. “Details of the agreement are confidential and the parties will now proceed to discontinue their legal proceedings.“, According to a separate statement from Qatar Airways.

The Gulf company, a major Airbus customer, was suing the aircraft manufacturer in the High Court of Justice in London to demand compensation for having gradually grounded part of its fleet of A350s because these damages jeopardized safety. flights, according to her and the Qatari regulator QCAA. Currently 29 of its 53 A350s are grounded and the airline was claiming $200,000 in compensation per aircraft per day of downtime, a total of around $2.5 billion.

Company orders restored

The aircraft manufacturer recognized a degradation of the paint which could expose a metal net integrated into the fuselage made of composite materials, intended to protect the aircraft in the event of a lightning strike, but rejected any consequence on safety, as did the European Agency for aviation safety (EASA). The problem was not confined to Qatar Airways, but no other company in the world has grounded its A350s. According to both groups,the settlement agreement does not constitute an admission of liability for either party“. Both promiseto move forward and work together as partnersand say they havelooking forward to getting these aircraft back into flight safelyafter repairs.

The agreement therefore allows Airbus to put an end to accusations that the A350 is not a safe aircraft and the company to return all its A350s to flight, as long-haul traffic, long depressed by the pandemic, resumes. colours. The two parties had been going blow for blow for several months before a London judge responsible for preparing the trial which was to be held in June.

And, spectacular decision in the aeronautics industry, Airbus had canceled in January 2022 an order for 50 single-aisle A321s placed by the company, then terminated a few months later the contract relating to the remainder of 23 A350s that Qatar Airways was still to receive, after its refusal to take delivery of multiple copies. These 50 A321s and 23 A350s werereintegrated into the order bookfrom the aircraft manufacturer as part of this agreement, an Airbus spokesperson told AFP.

At the list price, never applied because of discounts, the amount of these contracts exceeds 14 billion dollars. Several recent developments seem to have buried the hatchet. A technical meeting between Airbus and the Qatari regulator – the authority that banned the Qatar Airways A350s from flying – was finally able to take place in Doha on October 25 after many adventures.

The dispute, which had been taken up by the Elysée, was also discussed on Sunday by the French Minister of the Economy during a trip to Doha on Sunday where he met the Emir Sheikh Tamim ben Hamad Al-Thani, according to a source close to the case. “It is the culmination of major joint efforts. This is excellent news for the French aeronautical industry“Reacted Bruno Le Maire to the announcement of the agreement.

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