Qatar Airways has confirmed that it has obtained a High Court injunction against Airbus, in relation to an ongoing dispute over degradation to A350 aircraft, and the subsequent cancellation of an order for A321 neo aircraft.

As previously reported, the Gulf carrier says it has been forced to ground its fleet of A350 aircraft, due to what it calls Accelerated Surface Degradation.

Qatar Airways is suing Airbus over the issue, and has also refused to take delivery of any further A350s until the manufacturer has “established the root cause and permanently corrected the underlying condition to the satisfaction of Qatar Airways”.

This led to Airbus reportedly cancelling Qatar Airways’ order for 50 A321 neo aircraft, but the carrier has now obtained an injunction in relation to this move. In a statement the airline said:

“Qatar Airways welcomes the decision of the High Court on Friday 18 February 2022 which issued an injunction against Airbus.

“The essence of the order is that Airbus must not do anything between the date of the order and a further hearing in April that would adversely affect its ability to comply with any court order that Qatar Airways might obtain in relation to the purported cancellation of the A321 contract.

“As the order obtained is an injunction, there would be serious consequences for Airbus should this order be breached.

“The decision by the High Court will help to protect Qatar Airways against any future attempts by Airbus to suggest that it is unable to comply with the terms of the A321 contract.”

Qatar Airways also said that it “notes with surprise, the statement made by the Airbus CEO during the company’s latest earnings press event when he was referring to this litigation”.

The carrier quotes Guillaume Faury as saying during the press event that “We have to take steps to protect ourselves and protect the company and that’s basically what we are doing, but obviously we continue to try to resolve the situation in a more amicable way.”

In response to this Qatar Airways said that “It is important to clarify that neither Qatar Airways nor its legal team are aware of any efforts by Airbus to try to resolve the situation in an amicable way; in fact, the actual situation is to the contrary”.

“Qatar Airways was surprised to see Airbus’ latest efforts to attempt to terminate their own contractual commitment to establish a full root cause analysis of the A350 Accelerated Surface Degradation which is currently impacting the A350 aircraft type,” the carrier continued.

“Qatar Airways will continue its legal action to seek an order that requires Airbus to fully, properly and transparently investigate the A350 Accelerated Surface Degradation, to establish the conclusive and full root cause of an important condition which is degrading the surface of the aircraft beneath the paint.”

Finally Qatar Airways says that it has now been forced by the Qatar Civil Aviation Authority to ground the last of its 22 A350 aircraft as a result of the issue, adding that “The QCAA will not allow these aircraft to return to service until a full and conclusive root cause analysis has been completed, the impact on continuing airworthiness has been established and a solution been found to permanently correct the root cause and repair the damage”.

In December Qatar Airways’ CEO Akbar Al Baker said that the grounding of the A350s would lead to passengers flying on leased aircraft in coming months.

The aircraft shortfall has already led the carrier to bring back some of its A380 superjumbos into service.

Qatar Airways to reactivate A380s

Business Traveller contacted Airbus, and received the following comment:

“In line with Airbus’s proposal, the judge rejected QTR’s demand for three immediate broad injunctions and agreed to hear detailed evidence on the matter on 6 April.

“In order to assure its freedom of action on that date, the court required only that the parties do nothing that would materially change the situation between the date of the hearing and 6 April. Airbus will fully respect the court and its decisions.”,