Qatar Airways and Airbus have been locked in a bitter dispute for months about damage to airline’s A350 jets, including blistered paint, cracked window frames or riveted areas and erosion of a layer of lightning protection.
According to Qatar Airways, the country’s national regulator has ordered it to stop flying 21 out of its 53 A350 jets as the problems appeared.
The state-owned flag carrier of Qatar is claiming more than $600 million in compensation from Airbus for surface flaws on A350 jetliners, according to a court document.
Qatar Airways, which has ordered a total of 80 A350s, is also asking British judges to order France-based Airbus not to attempt to deliver any more of the jets until what it describes as a design defect has been fixed.
Airbus insists that, while it acknowledges some technical problems with its aircraft, there is no safety issue.
The Gulf airline is calling for $618 million in compensation from Airbus for the partial grounding, plus $4 million for every day that the 21 jets remain out of service.
The claim includes $76 million for one aircraft alone – a five-year-old A350 that was due to be re-painted in livery for the 2022 World Cup, which Qatar is hosting later this year.
That aircraft has been parked in France for a year, needing 980 repair patches after the aborted paint job exposed gaps in the lightning shield.