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Qatar Airways and Airbus Set For Speedy Trial Over A350 Dispute

Qatar Airways and Airbus Set For Speedy Trial Over A350 Dispute

Airbus and Qatar Airways are set for a “speedy trial” over the Airbus A350 dispute. On Thursday, a British judge granted Qatar Airways a relatively quick trial against Airbus over the A350 dispute. The trial is reportedly set for a three-month period next summer.

The High Court judge stated that there was “public interest” in the outcome of the A350 dispute.

“I am in absolutely no doubt that this case should be tried as soon as is practically possible.”

Judge David Waksman

Statement from Qatar Airways

Airbus and Qatar Airways have been in this dispute for months. The judge’s decision is also a relief for the manufacturer as it allows Airbus to keep trying to deliver the A350s meant for the Gulf carrier, triggering the payment clauses. However, if Qatar Airways rejects the planes, Airbus is free to sell those undelivered jets to other carriers.

“We entered into this process to secure an expedited trial and early disclosure from Airbus that will give us an insight into the true nature of surface degradation affecting the A350s.”

Qatar Airways Statement

The Doha-based carrier also stated that it would finally be able to assess the reason behind the damage to its A350 fleet. The airline has grounded over 20 A350s after the fuselage surface started degrading at an accelerated rate. Although Airbus acknowledged the quality issues, it stated that these issues are cosmetic and don’t have any safety concerns.

Qatar Airways had asked the High Court to split the trial and order the manufacturer to perform a deeper analysis of issues affecting a system for protecting the planes against lightning. However, this was rejected by the High Court.

During the court hearing, the British Judge, David Waksman said that the dispute is a costly one for both the parties. As reported by Reuters, judge Waksman also urged both parties to enter a “period of reflection” until the trial period opens.

“At the moment this case looks unsettleable – that might change. The costs for both sides are way over the top in my judgment. There is far too much time that is being spent here.”

British Judge, Judge Waksman

Earlier in January, Airbus revoked a separate $6 billion order for smaller A321neo jets. Although Qatar Airways appealed to the High Court to reverse Airbus’ decision, Qatar Airways lost the legal battle. The High Court ruled Airbus saying it was within its rights to cancel the order as the carrier had broken a cross contract clause as it refused to accept its A350s.

The timeline of the events in the A350 Dispute starting this year is as follows:

  • January 6th, 2022 – Qatar Airways sought $618 million in damages from Airbus
  • January 21st, 2022 – Airbus canceled Qatar Airways’ order for 50 A321neo jets
  • January 21st, 2022 – Qatar Airways released videos of the damage
  • February 8th, 2022 – Airbus canceled Qatar’s order for 2 Airbus A350 jets
  • February 19th, 2022 – Court ordered Airbus to stop “any practical impact” of the A321neo order cancelation
  • February 28th, 2022 – Airbus asked for $220 million in damages for the two undelivered A350s
  • April 4th, 2022 – Airbus canceled a third A350 order
  • April 26th, 2022 – Court Rejected Qatar’s bid to block A321neo cancelation

What do you think regarding the latest update on this legal dispute? Let us know in the comments below: