Airbus and Qatar Airways announced today that they had reached an “an amicable and mutually agreeable settlement” regarding the accelerated wear of the paint on A350 jets operated by the Gulf carrier and the grounding of the aircraft in Qatar. The disagreement between the two companies lasted more than a year and ended up in the courts in the United Kingdom.
In August 2021, Qatar Airways, following the recommendation of the Qatari aviation authority, grounded part of its fleet of A350 widebodies that showed premature deterioration of the anti-lightning layers of the paintwork.
After the problem arose, the Gulf carrier demanded a quick solution from Airbus, which did not happen. Feeling aggrieved, the company then started a legal dispute against the European manufacturer, in December 2021, in which it asked for compensation of $600 million.
However, the course of the process ended up in favor of Airbus, which began to demand compensation of $ 220 million from Qatar.
At the time, the manufacturer claimed that the problem with the Qatar Airways’ jets was an isolated phenomenon and that it did not affect the operation of the widebody, as the carrier claimed.
With the settlement agreement, in which neither company admits its responsibility for the aircraft issues, the two parties will now proceed to discontinue their legal claims. Details of the deal were kept secret.
“A repair project is now underway and both parties look forward to getting these aircraft safely back in the air,” said Airbus.
The Qatari airline is the launch customer of the widebody, having taken delivery of the first A350-900 in December 2014. The carrier was also the first to operate the larger capacity variant, the A350-1000, in 2018.
During discussions between them, Airbus ended up terminating a contract for the delivery of remaining A350s and an order for 50 A321neo jets, the latter under protest from Qatar Airways.
According to rumors, orders are expected to be re-established as part of the agreement between the two companies.