Airbus wants arbitration with Qatar Airways over A350
Airbus said Thursday it was ready to seek independent arbitration to settle a dispute with Qatar Airways, which has grounded some of its A350 planes over degradation of the exterior fuselage surface.
The airline, one of the Gulf region’s “big three” carriers, said in August that it was also not accepting further deliveries of the wide-body planes until Airbus had solved the problem and would not accept “anything other than aircraft that continue to offer its customers the highest possible standard of safety”.
But Airbus said the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) had confirmed its findings that the paint-related issue had “no airworthiness impact on the A350 fleet.”
The planemaker said the “attempt by this customer to misrepresent this specific topic as an airworthiness issue represents a threat to the international protocols on safety matters.”
It added that “it has become necessary for Airbus to seek an independent legal assessment as a way forward to resolve the dispute”.
Qatar Airways grounded 13 of its 53 A350s over the problem, which has seen the exterior paint degrade, exposing the metal mesh that protects the composite fuselage from lightning strikes.
Airbus said Qatar Airways had also rejected proposed solutions to the problem, without providing any reason why.