Qatar Airways to refuse Airbus deliveries over paint quality dispute?

Doha-based Qatar Airways is reportedly in a quarrel with the European aircraft manufacturer Airbus over the aircraft paint quality. Qatar Airways chief executive Akbar Al Baker said the airline would refuse to take deliveries from Airbus if disagreement was unresolved. 

In an interview with Bloomberg TV, Al Baker criticized Airbus without giving specific details on the dispute, saying that “if we are not able to settle that serious issue we have with them, we will refuse to take any aircraft from them”. 

However, unnamed sources close to the matter, quoted by Reuters on May 31, 2021, said that the disagreement arose due to quality issues of the Airbus A350 aircraft paint job.

Qatar Airways’ fleet of Airbus A350 XWB aircraft currently stands at 53, as per data. The Doha-based air carrier has 19 Airbus A350-1000s and 34 Airbus A350-900 aircraft with an average of 2.7 years. The latest Airbus A350 delivery was received on December 31, 2020. 

In the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, Qatar Airways announced it would defer deliveries from both Airbus and Boeing. However, in January 2021, Al Baker changed the tone and said the airline would “continue to take every single aircraft” that had been ordered. As of April 31, 2021, the Qatari airline is due to receive 50 Airbus A321neos and 32 Airbus A350-1000s. The airline’s recent clashes with Airbus might result in unfulfilled aircraft deliveries. 

It was the second time within a month, Qatar Airways CEO spoke sharply about the European planemaker Airbus. Previously in May 2021, Al Baker referred to the Airbus A380 aircraft saying that the purchase of the largest passenger aircraft was the airline’s biggest mistake. 

“The biggest mistake we made was the purchase of Airbus A380s,” Al Baker said on May 26, 2021, adding that the double-decker does more damage than benefits both Qatar Airways and the environment. “We grounded the A380s simply because it is not a fuel efficient airplane.” 


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