Airbus has cancelled Qatar Airways’ contract for 50 A321neos due to the continued disagreement over A350 surface degradation. In the midst of the developing disagreement, Qatar Airways had already delayed deliveries of its outstanding A350 orders, prompting Airbus to terminate a contractual arrangement for a new aircraft.
The paint on the recently arrived Airbus A350s was flaking and peeling, revealing copper meshing meant to protect the plane against lightning strikes, according to the airline. After suspending the afflicted aircraft — 21 of its 53 A350 flights – the airline is demanding more than $600 million in compensation, alleging the paint issue poses a safety concern..
The airline stated that it anticipates a court decision in the case and believes that “Airbus must conduct a thorough enquiry of this circumstance to conclusively demonstrate its full root cause in order to establish if any proposed maintenance solution will rectify the underlying issue and guarantee no risk to the aircraft’s ongoing airworthiness.”
Airbus has stated that it is considering modifying the structure of the anti-lightning mesh on newer A350s, but that secondary lightning protection is enough. Qatar, it claims, is weakening global rules by attempting to gain power over safety.
“In accordance with our rights, we confirmed we terminated the deal for 50 A321s with Qatar Airways,” an Airbus official said.