It’s now a cockfight, too. But the dispute between Qatar Airways and Airbus is primarily about a lot of money. A lot of money. The Gulf airline is demanding hundreds of millions from the aircraft manufacturer as compensation for damage to the paintwork on its Airbus A350, while Airbus is demanding 220 million in damages in return. The court case will be heard in London before the High Court of Justice.
Both Airbus and Qatar Airways have had some partial successes so far. But it may be some time before a final decision is made.
Last year, the presiding judge split the process into two to reduce complexity. The first part of the process will start in June 2023 and will deal with liability issues, the later with damages issues.
However, the process continues in the background. And the judge is now losing patience with Qatar Airways. It is about the Gulf airline’s claim that the Qatari aviation authority has ordered it to ground down 22 Airbus A350s and withdraw certification for the long-haul aircraft.
This happened, according to the airline, because a layer of paint over a copper braid used for lightning protection is cracking, blistering and peeling.
Despite filing thousands of documents, Qatar Airways has so far apparently failed to produce correspondence between it and the Qatar Civil Aviation Authority ordering the grounding.
The judge therefore gave the airline 13 weeks to present written evidence, as the portal Simple Flying writes. It was “absurd” that there should be no documents, he explained.
According to court documents cited by Simple Flying, the judge expressed frustration that Qatar Airways failed to provide evidence despite repeated requests.
The airline now has to catch up on this by April 21 – the date of the next meeting of the two parties in London. Otherwise, you face a serious setback in the process.
Some Airbus A350 operators have reported damage to the paintwork, such as Finnair and Lufthansa. However, none of them expressed concern like Qatar Airways. And the Qatar Civil Aviation Authority is so far the only aviation authority in the world that has ordered a grounding.
Airbus has recently made improvements in lightning protection. The aircraft manufacturer is now using a perforated copper foil that is lighter than the previous one. Airbus told Flightglobal magazine that this was not a reaction to the dispute with Qatar Airways. The new coating, called perforated copper foil, will be used for the tail sections of Airbus A350s, which will be delivered from the end of 2022.
Airbus has admitted shortcomings in the dispute from the start. However, the group has always emphasized that the problem does not mean that airworthiness is restricted and does not pose a safety risk.
This article was written by Stefan Eiselin
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The original of this article “Annoyed judge gives Qatar Airways an ultimatum in the Zoff with Airbus” comes from aeroTelegraph.