In the latest development in the ongoing legal row between Airbus and Qatar Airways, the High Court of Justice in London has authorized the European manufacturer not to continue the assembly of A321neo airliners for the Gulf air carrier.
Airbus is currently embroiled in a dispute with Qatar Airways regarding flaws on the surface of A350s received by the airline. In August 2021, the Qatar Civil Aviation Authority (QCAA) grounded 13 of Qatar Airways Airbus A350 aircraft over the premature deterioration of the fuselage surface. The airline sued Airbus over the grounding in December 2021, seeking more than $600 million in compensation.
In January 2022, Airbus retaliated by unilaterally terminating a separate contract to deliver 50 A321neo aircraft that Qatar Airways had on order since 2011. The decision was temporarily frozen by the court.
On April 26, 2022, the judge ruled in favor of Airbus, authorizing the planemaker not to fulfill its contractual obligation to deliver the A321neo jets. The precious delivery slots can thus be offered to other customers.
In a statement to AFP, Airbus said the court decision “recognized its position that transparent and trusting cooperation is essential in our industry”.
This ruling does not completely cancel the contract, however, and the manufacturer could later be found liable to compensate the airline financially.