Qatar Airways Halts A350 Jet Deliveries, Blames Surface Faults
(Bloomberg) -- Qatar Airways said it will stop taking delivery of Airbus SE A350 jets after issues under the surface of the paint forced it to ground some aircraft.
The paint on some of the twin-aisle planes “has been degrading at an accelerated rate,” the Gulf carrier said in a statement. The impacted aircraft will be idled and handovers halted until the “root cause can be understood and corrected.”
An Airbus spokesman declined to comment on the dispute, saying discussions with customers are confidential.
The move marks an escalation of a disagreement first signaled in a Bloomberg TV interview last week, with Qatar Airways Chief Executive Officer Akbar Al Baker threatening to stop taking Airbus deliveries due to an issue he declined to discuss in detail. Doha-based Qatar Airways has received 53 A350 planes out of 76 on order, making it the largest customer of the carbon fiber-skinned jet.
Qatar Airways is among Airbus’s most important customers, and has used that position to put pressure on the manufacturer, from threatening to cancel or delay deliveries to criticisms over quality.
During the coronavirus crisis Al Baker has lobbied forcefully for Airbus and Boeing Co. to allow flexibility in orders for wide-body planes, which are used for long-distance travel that’s been hit especially hard by the downturn in international air travel.
©2021 Bloomberg L.P.