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Qatar Airways Stops New Airbus A350 Deliveries On Paint Job Complaints

Qatar Airways Stops New Airbus A350 Deliveries On Paint Job Complaints

The Persian Gulf airline Qatar Airways has followed through with a threat to halt all new deliveries of the Airbus A350 aircraft, of which it has 23 still on order, over complaints about the quality of the paint job on some of the jets. Each A350 jet is valued at $366 million at list price.

In a statement provided to Reuters, the Doha-based airline said it would refuse to take any more aircraft from Airbus because the surface below the paint on some A350 aircraft that are already in the Qatar Airways fleet have been degrading sooner than expected.

Photo Credit: Qatar Airways

Qatar Airways said it would only start accepting deliveries once the issue had been resolved. The airline did not say how long this process might take or whether the delay could have an impact on its operations.

Outspoken chief executive Akbar Al Baker first highlighted the dispute with Airbus last week, telling the media that the airline was dealing with a “serious issue” with the European aerospace giant.

“If we are not able to settle that serious issue we have with them, we will refuse to take any aircraft from them,” Al Baker told Bloomberg. He refused to reveal what the issue was but sources later confirmed the airline was unhappy about the paint job on some of its A350’s.

“Qatar Airways continues to experience and has witnessed a condition in which the surface below the paint on some of its Airbus A350 aircraft has been degrading at an accelerated rate,” a spokesperson for the airline confirmed on Tuesday.

“Qatar Airways will require this condition and its underlying root cause to be fully understood and corrected before the delivery of any further Airbus A350 aircraft.”

The carrier is known for scrupulous attention to detail when it comes to the fit and finishing of its planes and it is known to hold its suppliers to a very high standard. It isn’t unusual for Qatar Airways to reject shoddy workmanship but the timing has raised eyebrows.

Last year, Al Baker said the airline wouldn’t take any more aircraft deliveries until the end of 2021 at the earliest because of the impact that the pandemic has had on long-haul international travel demand. Qatar Airways later struck a deal with Airbus over delaying some deliveries but it did involve the airline taking on some planes.

Airbus delivered three brand new A350 aircraft to Qatar Airways in a single day last October.

Photo Credit: Qatar Airways

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