Middle East

$ 1 Billion Airbus-Inside the Hanger at the Center of the Qatar Jet Conflict-Middle East Monitor

The two high-tech Airbus A350 jets are idle with windows taped and the engine covered by a bayside illuminated hangar. Reuters Report.

Seen from a distance, the plane may look like other long-haul jet airliners swarming in the busy Doha hub.However, a rare site visit Reuters Journalists have shown evidence of damage to the wings, tail, and some surfaces of the hull.

In total, worth about $ 300 million, two planes are at the heart of the $ 1 billion London court battle over whether damage represents a potential safety risk, according to analysts. It is one of the grounded A350s.

The plane was grounded by a Qatar regulator after premature paint erosion damaged the metal sublayer that protects the fuselage from lightning strikes.

Other airlines continue to fly the A350 even after European regulatory authorities have declared the safety of the aircraft.

Reuters Journalists were granted rare direct access after requesting a visit beside an aviation industry conference in Doha, Qatar’s capital this week.

Sporadic surface defects on the A350 seen by Reuters Along the roof or crown of the jet, it contained an elongated stretch of bulging, cracked, or chipped paint.

In some areas, such as the curved tip and the protective lightning mesh between the hull and the wing, the paint appeared to be exposed and corroded.

Elsewhere, it appears to be missing, leaving the area of ​​the complex hull exposed.

The A350’s tail paint, adorned with the Qatar Airways azure Arabian Oryx emblem, was mocked by a cracked chip paint that exposed the dull carbon below.

Reuters Small areas were seen that appeared to be frayed or delaminated carbon threads on the hull, the so-called “rivet rash” or loss of paint from the fastener heads in the wing area.

Airbus and Qatar Airways Reuters‘Survey results.

Airbus shares fell 2.4% on Wednesday amid a slump in aerospace stocks.

Erosion

Airbus acknowledges the quality flaws of the A350, but denies that it poses a safety risk due to the number of backup systems and the margins built into the design.

Qatar Airways claims that this cannot be known until further analysis and refuses to fly more planes.

Airbus argues that some paint erosion is a hallmark of the carbon composite technology used to build all the latest long-range jets and is a necessary trade-off for weight savings. ..

Cracks are said to be caused by the way paints, lightning strike prevention materials called ECF, and composite structures interact. Not all tails contain ECF foil, and there is ongoing debate about whether the same problem causes damage.

Qatar Airways questioned Airbus’ explanation and told a British court that a similar Boeing 787 would not have the same problem.

A Reuters A survey last November revealed that at least five other airlines had reported surface issues by 2016 after the A350 went into service the previous year.

The European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA), which oversees the design of jet aircraft, did not make immediate comments. Executive Director Patrick Kay said last week that there was no threat to aviation safety.

In the hundreds of pages of conflicting technical court filings presented by both sides, Reuters The cause of the damage could not be determined independently.

Qatar Airways CEO Akbar Al Baker and Airbus CEO Guillaume Fori had the opportunity to interact at a three-day industry rally in Qatar this week.

Asked if the relationship improved after an event involving two men sitting next to each other at dinner, Al Baker suggested that the two remain far apart.

“On a personal level, I’m friends with everyone, but when it comes to my company’s problems, that’s a different story. If the problems are resolved, I haven’t waited for next year’s trial yet.” He said. Press conference.

Foley said he was in talks with the airline this week and reported “progress in the sense that we are communicating.”

After the Doha meeting, one of the top executives in the aviation industry expressed concern that the conflict could have a toxic impact on contractual relationships across the industry.

“It would be much better to trade with friends than to trade in court,” Willy Walsh, Secretary of the International Air Transport Association, told reporters.

read: Qatar Airways complains Airbus to A350 skin defects

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https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/20220622-inside-the-hangar-at-the-centre-of-the-1bn-airbus-qatar-jet-dispute/ $ 1 Billion Airbus-Inside the Hanger at the Center of the Qatar Jet Conflict-Middle East Monitor

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