The High Court of Justice in London ruled that the dispute between Airbus and Qatar Airways over flaws on the surface of A350s received by the airline is to be resolved in a three-month trial during the summer of 2023.
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 February 2022, Airbus also filed a claim at the Technology and Construction Court of the British High Court of Justice.
On April 26, 2022, the judge ruled in favor of Airbus, authorizing the planemaker not to fulfill its contractual obligation to deliver a different order of A321neo jets to the airline. Airbus was also allowed to sell A350s that Qatar Airways has rejected after the European Union Aviation Safety Agency established that they were safe to operate.
Qatar Airways welcomed the decision to hold a swift legal process. “We entered into this process to secure an expedited trial and early disclosure from Airbus that will give us an insight into the true nature of surface degradation affecting the A350s,” the airline said in a statement.
The European manufacturer also approved the short procedure. “The case can now move quickly to focus on the main issue: these are false statements made by Qatar Airways about the safety and airworthiness of the A350, which we will continue to defend,” Airbus said.
However, Qatar Airways appears to hope that the two parties can reach a settlement. “Every partnership has disputes and I just hope that this dispute can be resolved out of court,” Qatar Airways Chief Operating Officer Akbar al-Baker said at a press conference in Doha on May 26, 2022. And the feeling is shared by Airbus, which also said it was favoring “an amicable solution.”