A British judge has ordered the plane maker to postpone the decision to cancel the $ 6 billion jet order from Qatar Airways.
This move will prevent Airbus from granting early delivery slots for high-demand A321neo planes to other airlines. A hearing in early April is pending, with Qatar Airways planning to seek an injunction to revive the contract.
This was after Airbus unexpectedly canceled a completely different order for 50 new A321neo jet airliners on January 22nd. Qatar Airways’ cancellation of the $ 6 billion order has shown a sharp escalation in the court battle of giants in the aviation industry.
Qatar Airways condemned this decision at a hearing held on Friday. “They took the risk and knew it would definitely burn. We have paid $ 330 million for this (A321neo) contract so far, and they said it was ours. I knew it was a grenade thrown into a bunker, “said Qatar Airways lawyer Philippe Shepherd.
Escalating court struggle
The legal controversy was triggered by suspicion of a series of problems with the Airbus A350 aircraft, which Qatar Airways labeled as “serious and legitimate safety concerns.”
From late 2020 to early 2021, Gulf Airlines discovered that 21 A350 jets had eroded lighting protection surface coatings. The Qatar Civil Aviation Authority (QCAA) last year decided to ground these planes due to safety concerns.
Grounded jets make up 40% of Qatar Airways’ A350 fleet.
Last December, Qatar Airways took a European Airbus maker to the British High Court in London. The airline has requested the plane manufacturer for $ 618 million in contractual compensation.
Airbus acknowledged quality issues, but accused airlines of mislabeling them as a safety issue to ensure compensation.
However, there are ongoing attempts to reach a solution. On Thursday, Airbus CEO Guillaume Foley said his company was seeking a “friendly” settlement over a long-standing controversy.
Turn to Boeing
With 40% of Qatar Airways’ A350 fleet landing and Airbus recently canceling its A321neo order, Airbus has signed a major $ 34 billion contract with Airbus competitor Boeing. This transaction aims to close the supply gap for commercial aircraft.
The Gulf Airlines moved fast as it secured an order for 50 Boeing 737 Max 10 jets on January 31st. It has also become the launch customer for the cargo ship version of Boeing’s future flagship jet, the 777X.
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