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Airbus instructed to delay cancellation of Qatar jet order

written by Isabella Richards | February 21, 2022

An A321neo aircraft. (Airbus)

A UK judge has ordered Airbus to delay its decision of rescinding a US$6 billion jet order from Qatar Airways of A321 jets, adding to the ongoing row between the aerospace giants.

According to Reuters, the planemaker has been asked to delay it for several weeks, preventing it from allocating new early delivery slots to other airlines before an April hearing.

The Doha-based carrier has requested an injunction for the week of 4 April over the contract, ahead of the court dispute over the A350 issues on 26 April.

It comes after a slew of issues between the companies began from early last year, as Qatar found paint and lightning mesh issues on several A350 jets, some of which had only been recently delivered.

It led to the nation’s aviation regulator forcing Qatar to ground over 20 of its widebody jets due to fears of their airworthiness.

During that time, the carrier sought more than $700 million in compensation for the costs involved in being unable to fly the A350s in its fleet.

Then the dispute was heightened in January when Airbus cancelled an order of over 50 A321 jets as the company claimed Qatar was deceitful in its groundings.


Airbus accused the airline of mislabelling the issue as a safety concern to bag compensation during a procedural hearing.

In early February, Airbus also cancelled two of the company’s 40 A350 orders.

At the Friday hearing, Qatar’s lawyer Philip Shepherd said: “They took the risk and knew it would be absolutely incendiary.

“We have paid $330 million for this [A321neo] contract so far and they knew it was a hand grenade being thrown into our bunker”.

The flag carrier had secured 50 of the aircraft set for delivery between February 2023 and April 2031, with six to arrive next year.

Airbus chief executive Guillaume Faury said on Thursday it was forced to cancel the order to “exercise our rights”, and in an interview on Friday with BFM TV, he said the company was ready for a truce, saying “it takes time.”

But according to Reuters, sources say there is no sign of reconciliation at this point in time.

A UK judge also rejected an Airbus request for more time to prepare and has ordered the planemaker to avoid doing anything else in the meantime, as Qatar is expected to seek a ruling preserving its contract for the A321neo jets.

More to come.

Airbus instructed to delay cancellation of Qatar jet order Comment

  • Ronnie


    If I was Airbus I would ignore the “asked to delay rescinding the Qatar Airways A321 order” and let Qatar Airways sue them for that too. Qatar Airways have publicly said they want to stop deliveries of more A350’s they have on order despite Airbus doing as much as possible to solve the surface coating problem on Qatar Airways and other airline planes, plus the obvious work-around of recoating the planes in the interim, which apparently Qatar Airways will not accept. In my view this is typical Qatar Airways and unreasonable. It they are being unreasonable, as they have in the past, I think then it is expected that Airbus can be unreasonable too. If needed Airbus can sue Qatar Airways in a similar way as Qatar Airways are suing Airbus. The only people who gain from that are lawyers and as for Qatar Airways stating that they are taking it to court for a rapid solution then dream on. NOTHING will fix the surface coating issue faster than Airbus is already trying to do. And Qatar Airways will not get planes from Boeing faster to replace the A350’s either, especially 787’s which have their own delays (for years) and also similar surface coating issues. Ironic isn’t it. Instead of working with the manufacturer, Qatar Airways would rather sue and delay their own fleet modernisation. I think we call that vexatious, as if going to court is going to solve their A350 surface coating issue any faster or differently than working with Airbus through an obviously difficult reworking process. As for leaving their planes out in the desert for years and making a video of the obvious deterioration that would occur – give us a break, do you really think that helps your case?

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