Even though the Qatar Civil Aviation Authority instructed Qatar Airways to ground 13 Airbus A350 wide-body aircraft due to fuselage surface deterioration issues, the European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) expressed its opposite opinion over the matter. The European regulator reportedly does not intend to take any actions over the potential risks since it has not indicated any paint and protection degradation that could affect the structure of the jet nor introduces “other risks”.
Speaking to media on August 10, 2021, the European regulator outlined that judging by the provided data, none of the reported degradations of the particular 13 Qatar Airways aircraft surface paint and protection could affect the structure of the planes and in this way cause the potential risks. EASA argued that none of the other air carriers have reported any “paint and protection damage” and concluded that it will not “take any action as the State of Design for the issue at this time”.
The local CAA grounded 13 Qatar Airways Airbus A350 wide-body aircraft of both -900s and -1000 variants on August 5, 2021, after the surface below the paint on certain airplanes was noticed degrading at an accelerated rate, causing a potential risk to jets safety and security.
The decision over the grounding was taking more than a month after the initial Qatar Airways concerns over the matter. The airline firstly voiced the quality issues of the A350 jet in June 2021. At the time, reacting to the matter, the air carrier’s Chief Executive Officer Akbar Al Baker expressed the strong willingness for the manufacturer to establish the root cause of the issue before the company takes any further delivery of jets of the type.
“They are ignoring the fact that there are serious issues with those airplanes,” Al Baker said during the FlightPlan III webinar in July 2021. “We have serious concerns about those aircraft.”
Although EASA has not determined a potential risk, the European regulator reportedly said that it will continue on evaluating any further updates it will receive to ensure the airworthiness of the jet.
According to the Planespotters.net data, Qatar Airways Airbus A350 XWB fleet consists of 19 Airbus A350-900s, and 34 A350-1000 jets, bringing a total number of the type to 53 planes.