Aerospace giant Airbus says it will “vigorously defend” itself in a lawsuit brought against the aircraft manufacturer by Qatar Airways in London’s High Court. The Doha-based airline said on Monday that it had no other choice but to sue Airbus because it had “sadly failed” to find a solution to a paintwork issue that was impacting some A350 aircraft.
“Airbus received a formal legal in the English courts filed by Qatar Airways relating to the dispute over the degradation of surface and paint on certain of Qatar Airways’ A350XWB aircraft,” the manufacturer said in a statement released late on Monday evening.
“Airbus is in the process of analysing the contents of the claim. Airbus intends to vigorously defend its position,” the statement continued.
The legal action initiated by Qatar Airways appears to be a direct response to a threat made nearly two weeks ago by Airbus to seek “an independent legal assessment” in a dispute with an unnamed airline.
Airbus claimed the customer was engaged in an ongoing “mischaracterization” of its A350 aircraft.
“The attempt by this customer to misrepresent this specific topic as an airworthiness issue represents a threat to the international protocols on safety matters,” Airbus said in an earlier statement.
Airbus said at the time that it was attempting to “re-establish a constructive dialogue” with the customer before initiating its own legal proceedings.
Qatar’s civil aviation regulator has ordered Qatar Airways to ground 21 of its 53 strong fleet of Airbus A350 aircraft due to airworthiness concerns connected with the paintwork issues.
The issue had impacted several A350 operators including Cathay Pacific, Finnair and Lufthansa. Those operators have described the issue as merely “cosmetic” and have not felt the need to ground the aircraft.
Qatar Airways is understood to have rejected several solutions put forward by Airbus and is demanding the manufacturer determine the root cause of the problem.
Mateusz Maszczynski honed his skills as an international flight attendant at the most prominent airline in the Middle East and has been flying throughout the COVID-19 pandemic for a well-known European airline. Matt is passionate about the aviation industry and has become an expert in passenger experience and human-centric stories. Always keeping an ear close to the ground, Matt's industry insights, analysis and news coverage is frequently relied upon by some of the biggest names in journalism.