Qatar Airways has grounded 13 A350s on the orders of its regulator, saying it will refuse to receive any more of the passenger jets until Airbus resolves what the Gulf carrier described as “accelerated” degrading of the fuselage.
The move is the latest instalment of a public spat rumbling between the long-haul specialist and the European manufacturer, which has led to Qatar Airways threatening to halt deliveries unless Airbus fixes the alleged deterioration of the fuselage’s surface underneath the paint.
“With this latest development, also we sincerely expect that Airbus treats this matter with the proper attention that it requires,” said Akbar Al Baker, Qatar Airways’ chief executive.
“Qatar Airways expects Airbus to have established the root cause and permanently. Corrected the underlying condition to the satisfaction of Qatar Airways and our regulator before we take delivery of any further A350 aircraft,” he added.
Airbus declined to comment on “confidential” discussions with its customers.
But one person briefed on the matter said the aircraft maker had been investigating surface paint of some in-service A350s, resulting in a thorough assessment shared with the EU’s civil aviation regulator.
“It was demonstrated that there is no airworthiness impact on the fleet, allowing for continued operations,” the person added. “Also No additional inspections are required beyond existing scheduled maintenance.”
Qatar with Airbus
Qatar Airways said it was returning some of its A330 fleet into service to replace the grounded jets and was also considering other solutions to minimise disruption.
The airline operates 34 A350-900s and 19 A350-1000s. It has another 23 of the wide aircraft on order.
Qatar Airways in late May first threatened to refuse delivery of further orders of the A350 jet, citing quality issues.
The spat comes as airlines, crippled by the impact of coronavirus travel restrictions, also have been seeking to delay or cancel aircraft deliveries.
Manufacturers have been pressing carriers to receive orders made before the pandemic slashed global demand.
Baker, one of the aviation industry’s most outspoken executives, has previously expressed pessimism about the. Pace of recovery for the global travel industry, calling for international co-ordination over vaccine passports.
Qatar Airways is one of the Gulf’s government-owned super carriers, alongside Dubai’s Emirates and. Abu Dhabi’s Etihad Airways, which have grown in recent decades with the rise of intercontinental travel through their hub airports.
Moreover the UK, which had for months kept Qatar and neighbouring rivals the United Arab Emirates and. Bahrain on its travel “red list”, will from Sunday move these Gulf states down to amber, thereby. Moreover removing mandatory hotel quarantine for those arriving in the UK from or via these countries.
Information Credits : Financial Times
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