Qatar Airways has allegedly stopped all deliveries of its wide-body A350 jetliner due to continuous disputes between the airline and Airbus.
In an interview with Reuters, a spokesperson from Qatar said that the condition of the A350 aircraft the airline has received is below standards.
“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,” the spokesperson said.
“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.”
Originally, reports alluded that the dispute was over a dodgy paint job, but that was then settled by CEO Akbar Al Baker last week, suggesting it was due to quality control.
However, now it is clear that the issue of quality control refers to below the paint. The specifics are unknown as of yet.
While this is a significant crisis between the two companies, this does not come as a surprise as Qatar threatened to halt deliveries of the jet a few weeks ago when rumours of the issue surfaced.
Al Baker warned the planemaker: “If we are not able to settle that serious issue we have with them, we will refuse to take any aircraft from them.”
This matter is not isolated, as Qatar has faced numerous issues with Airbus over the years, concerning quality control and delivery threats, as reported previously by World of Aviation.
This issue began when problems with the aircraft’s wings arose in 2012. Eight A380’s delivered to Qatar Airways all appeared to have tiny cracks in the wings, in a problem that spanned across all 68 superjumbos delivered by Airbus in February 2021.
Al Baker threatened Airbus to amend these issues by delivering entirely re-manufactured aircraft.
In 2016, supply chain issues with the A350 long-range, wide-body jetliner surfaced. Al Baker criticised Airbus for “losing steam” in resolving these continuous issues, especially as its largest customer. No detailed information was revealed, but Al Baker said it concerned problems with “supply chain”.
Most recently, Qatar has expressed interest in purchasing an A350 freighter variant, however, in light of the disputes it is leaning towards a Boeing 777X freighter, if it gets built. The CEO said, “With Boeing we have no issue.”
The ongoing issues are significant and could produce further implications in the future, as Qatar is the A350’s largest customer. Currently Qatar has 76 planes on order, 34 for the A350-900, and 42 for the 1350-1000, according to Simple Flying.