In the latest round of the Qatar Airways vs Airbus row over the A350 aircraft, the flag carrier of Qatar has released a video footage to show the ‘airworthiness issues’ they have about the aircraft.
“As this video clearly shows, these defects are not superficial and one of the defects causes the aircraft’s lightning protection system to be exposed and damaged, another defect leaves the underlying composite structure exposed to moisture and ultraviolet light, and other defects include cracking in the composite and damage around a high percentage of rivets on the aircraft fuselage,” Qatar Airways said of the video in an accompanying statement.
The video was released on January 21, 2022, a day after Airbus announced that it is terminating a separate contract to deliver 50 Airbus A321neo aircraft that Qatar Airways ordered. Airbus’ move is not only expected to widen the long-standing rift with Qatar Airways, but will also put pressure on the airline as Qatar prepares to host the World Cup soccer event in November 2022.
Airbus’ announcement regarding the termination of the A321neo aircraft orders also came a day after an expedited court hearing initiated by Qatar Airways at the Technology & Construction division of the High Court in England.
Qatar Airways said that it sought the hearing “to address our serious and legitimate safety concerns regarding the surface degradation condition adversely impacting our Airbus A350 fleet which has resulted so far in 21 Airbus A350 aircraft being grounded.”
A report by Bloomberg news said that Airbus will contend that Qatar Airways “sought to engineer or has acquiesced” in the A350 groundings because it’s in the airline’s interest to keep its planes idle “given the impact of the coronavirus pandemic” on demand.
Of the A350 video footage that it released, Qatar Airways says, “We welcome the decision of the court to expedite this issue and order a hearing in April in an effort to bring about a more rapid resolution to the dispute.”