The European aircraft manufacturer Airbus has cancelled the delivery of yet another Qatar Airways A350-900. This makes it the third A350 aircraft being cancelled by the manufacturer in what has been an ongoing and increasingly spiteful clash between Airbus and the Gulf airline. Just last week, Qatar Airways raised the stakes as it stated that surface flaws on the A350s increase the risk of fuel tanks igniting.
The Ongoing Issue
According to a report from Reuters, Qatar Airways rejected the delivery of the third A350-900 aircraft after which Airbus cancelled the contract. Notably, Qatar Airways has already grounded 23 of its A350s citing the cause to be damaged paint layers. Even though Airbus accepts it to be a problem but refrains from accepting that it is a safety issue. This has led to legal proceedings with Qatar Airways seeking more than US$ 1 billion in compensation over the grounded A350s whereas Airbus is asking for $220 million regarding the first two undelivered A350s.
In addition to this, Airbus has also cancelled a contract for 50 Airbus A321Neos that is also subject to legal action. Qatar Airways claims that there is a manufacturing defect in the design of A350 aircraft and states a number of damage issues such as small spider cracks, larger cracks around the window frames, exposure of the lightning protection and of the underlying composite surface, and damage to the lightning protection layer.
Even though, the local aviation safety regulator in Qatar backs Qatar Airways, the European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) says the A350 is safe to fly. Moreover, there are other airlines in Europe such as British Airways which are continuing to fly the A350 aircraft even after reporting the same surface problems.