Airbus is raising the stakes in its long-running dispute with one of its customers over surface degradation issues of its A350 aircraft. 

The aircraft manufacturer accused its customer of misrepresenting the problem as a safety issue and is now calling for independent legal advice.

“In the face of the ongoing mischaracterisation of non-structural surface degradation on its fleet of A350 aircraft by one of its customers, it has become necessary for Airbus to seek an independent legal assessment as a way forward to resolve the dispute, which the two parties have been unable to settle during direct and open discussions,” Airbus said in a statement dated December 9, 2021.  

While Airbus has not named the customer in dispute, it has been engaged in a months-long dispute with Qatar Airways, who has been vocal about its issues with its A350 orders. 

In his latest speaking engagement in November 2021 at the Aviation Club in London, Qatar Airways CEO Akbar Al Baker said that Airbus needs to admit that it had a problem with flaws on the surface of its A350 jets and ruled out buying freighter planes from the aircraft manufacturing company.

“The attempt by this customer to misrepresent this specific topic as an airworthiness issue represents a threat to the international protocols on safety matters,” Airbus said.

Airbus also said that while it regrets that it has come to this path, it feels that it is necessary in order to “defend its position and reputation.”

The aircraft manufacturer also added that it is working to re-establish a constructive dialogue with its customer on this matter but is not willing to accept “inaccurate statements of this kind.” 

AeroTime News has reached out to Qatar Airways for a statement. 

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Qatar Airways CEO Akbar Al Baker called on Airbus to admit that it had flaws on the surface of its A350 jets.