Qatar Airways seeks US$618 million + compensation from Airbus

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  • AMcWhirter
    Participant

    Many of you will have seen the thread from MartynSinclair and his excellent review of Qatar Airways.

    Some postings concern the A350 and the aircraft which QR has had to deploy while 21 of the former are grounded.

    Today Reuters reports that QR is seeking US$618 million compensation from Airbus.

    In addition the airline seeks an additional US$4 million for every day that 21 of its A350 fleet remain grounded.

    https://www.reuters.com/business/aerospace-defense/qatar-airways-seeks-more-than-600-mln-airbus-a350-dispute-2022-01-06/


    BPP
    Participant

    Presumably this could mean that anything can be subsituted for the scheduled Qatar aircraft even a leased aircraft of whatever configuration. You might not get what you paid for!
    BPP


    Tom Otley
    Keymaster

    There’s a link in this story to the pictures of the paint flaking….

    https://www.reuters.com/business/aerospace-defense/costly-airbus-paint-flaw-goes-wider-than-gulf-2021-11-29/

    1 user thanked author for this post.

    AMcWhirter
    Participant

    Last month Tom reported on the issues faced by Qatar Airways with its A350s.

    The airline is seeking over $600 million in damages from Airbus.

    Qatar Airways A350 woes will lead to aircraft leasing – CEO

    Today’s development is unprecedented in aviation.

    Airbus is reported to have told Qatar Airways that its order for 50 A321neo aircraft is now cancelled.

    It may be the first time the manufacturer, rather than a major airline, which has taken this decision.

    3 users thanked author for this post.

    Tom Otley
    Keymaster

    Qatar Airways has released the following… (I’ll post the link to the video separately)

    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 our serious and legitimate safety concerns regarding the surface degradation condition adversely impacting our Airbus A350 fleet which has resulted so far in 21 Airbus A350 aircraft being grounded. As this video 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. We welcome 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.

    We continue 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 we are 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 A321 Neo aircraft. We confirm that we are adhering to all of our 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. We continue 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, we will continue to robustly defend our position in the legal proceedings.

    4 users thanked author for this post.

    Tom Otley
    Keymaster

    Here is the video released by Qatar Airways

    5 users thanked author for this post.

    AMcWhirter
    Participant

    Today Airbus has cancelled an order for two A350s which had been ordered by Qatar Airways. via Reuters.

    https://www.reuters.com/article/airbus-qatar/airbus-revokes-order-for-two-a350-1000-jets-in-qatar-dispute-idUKL8N2UJ63C?edition-redirect=uk


    Shamsh1
    Participant

    To call these damages „cosmetic“ is grossly negligent. The fuselage looks like one from the scrapyard.
    I personally will avoid flying with an A350, having seen these pictures. But can I refuse to enter an aircraft, if the airline changes the model without notice?


    Tom Otley
    Keymaster

    You certainly can, but the question then becomes whether you would be entitled to compensation.

    Interestingly there are hundreds of A350s that are continuing to be flown by other airlines.

    I interviewed the CEO of Finnair last week, which was the European launch customer for the A350.

    (I was on the delivery flight)

    I asked him about the issues, whcih are reported in the earlier Reuters piece

    (“Messages show Finnair (FIA1S.HE), which operates in the colder north, raised paint concerns as early as 2016, and reported in October 2019 that damage had spread below to the anti-lightning mesh.”)

    He said that they had reported those that they had found, but continued to have full confidence in the aircraft and were continuing to have them delivered.

    2 users thanked author for this post.

    AMcWhirter
    Participant

    In a previous posting I noted that Airbus had called Qatar Airways’ order of 50 A321neo aircraft.

    It’s almost unprecedented for a manufacturer to revoke an order. Normally it’s the other way round.

    After the cancellation Qatar Airways responded by ordering a many as 50 B737 MAX aircraft from Boeing.

    https://www.cnbc.com/2022/01/31/boeing-wins-qatar-airways-orders-for-new-777x-freighters-.html

    However Qatar Airways clearly prefers the Airbus plane.

    Today comes news that a UK judge has stepped in to delay Airbus’ decision regarding the cancellation of the A321neo order.

    There will be a court hearing in April regarding the A350 dispute.

    In the meantime a UK judge has instructed Airbus not to do anything [about the A321neo cancellation] until the court case is heard in April. Via Reuters.

    https://www.reuters.com/business/aerospace-defense/qatar-airways-says-airbus-using-a321neo-leverage-paint-row-2022-02-18/


    Inquisitive
    Participant

    Recently watched the ‘Downfall’ in Netflix that documented the Boeing 737Max debacle. It is very telling how not following basic principles of customer service and arrogance can do to a company.

    Hope Airbus is not caught-up with similar arrogance.


    cwoodward
    Participant

    I have been watching this situation with interest for the past 2 years and in my view there is little or no problem with the airbus A350 aircraft. Most certainly not a problem that is at all serious as is rather borne out by the fact that only one airline has aggressively proclaimed that their is a major problem and proceeded to sue Airbus.

    That airline of course is Qatar.
    Its chairman one Akbar Al Baker is well-known I am told for stamping his foot and having a tantrum whenever he cannot get his own way.
    This is one such incident and goes back over 2 years to when he decided to cancel a large order for Airbus aircraft and that cancelation was not accepted by Airbus.

    Cathay runs a large fleet of A350 aircraft and were one of the early customers and among the earliest to receive the aircraft with some now over 4 years old and others only months old. I am told by friends at Cathay, who do have real knowledge of the issue that there is no major issue with the skin of the aircraft and the faults that there are on a few aircraft are mainly cosmetic and confined to one area of the fuselage. Although they do need some attention the airworthiness of the aircraft is not in question and this is little more than a normal day to day problem.
    EASA ( the relevantly industry safety body) is on record recently stating “Based on the data provided to EASA by airlines and EASA’s examination of some affected aircraft, there is no indication that the superficial paint and protection degradation affects the structure of the aircraft or introduces other safety risks,”

    This is far from the first time that this character has caused this sort of to get his own way and several times previously he has need to back down.
    It is interesting to watch this playing out but I am convinced that there is no serious issue with the airworthiness of the aircraft.

    1 user thanked author for this post.

    Inquisitive
    Participant

    It is very easy to blame Qatar, and to some extent daft.
    Even if paint peeled of of a new car model like this, any customer will make life miserable for that company.
    And here we are talking about an aeroplane.
    Even if the aerodynamic or the fuselage structure stress withstand capacity is not affected by this paint peeling, these looks ugly and could be brand image issue. Posting this kind of photos in social media or in news articles might turn-off some passengers against Qatar – general public may be assuming safety issue.
    I am at a loss why someone arguing Qatar shall not complain?

    1 user thanked author for this post.

    cwoodward
    Participant

    Inquisitive,
    It is nether ‘easy’ or to use your rather quaint term daft’ to attempt to seek to outline the facts of this interesting situation.
    Qatar have every right to complain but equally Airbus have every right to be allowed to remedy the problem. Qatar has seemingly denied them this opportunity
    Your car analogy may have had some weight and real relevance had Airbus like your motor manufacturer walked away from the problem.
    However that is far from the case here as Airbus have shown willing and able to fix the issue and have done so for any other airline that has had an issue.
    I read that Qatar have refused to allow Airbus to fix the surface blemishes on their aircraft preferring to escalate the issue for reasons unconnected to with surface paint degradation. This is a typical tactical move by the management of Qatar. ‘Toys out of pram’ comes to mind.

    From industry reports it seems that Boeing have a similar problem with the composite surface finish of the B787.


    AMcWhirter
    Participant

    Latest development reported by Bloomberg.

    The agency has a strict paywall hence I post today’s tweet.

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