Airbus has asked a London High Court judge to award the planemaker US$220 million in damages over two A350 aircraft ready to be delivered but rejected by Qatar Airways.
The European aerospace giant is hoping to recover the millions in compensation awarded to the Doha-based airline over the grounded widebodies.
It comes as the latest blow to the court row between the companies after the flag carrier sued Airbus over the A350 jets in December, but it appears both are not backing down or making amends at this point.
An Airbus spokesperson said the counterclaim in a filing on Monday was a “last resort and followed by many fruitless attempts to find mutually beneficial solutions”.
Airbus argued Qatar was mislabelling the ongoing paint surface and lightning mesh complaints to bag compensation, which has been flagged by the planemaker before.
The dispute has been going on for months, and it has led Qatar’s aviation regulator to force the grounding of over 20 of its widebody jets due to fears of their airworthiness.
On Monday, Qatar said its regulator urged for more widebody jets to be grounded, tallying the A350s at a standstill to 22.
Qatar said the regulator will “not allow these aircraft to return to service until a full and conclusive root cause analysis has been completed”.
According to Airbus, while it has acknowledged certain quality issues, the company argues Qatar Airways and its aviation regulator “wrongfully colluded or conspired and/or otherwise acted together in bad faith in relation to the groundings”.
The carrier has sought for more than $700 million in compensation for the costs involved in being unable to fly the A350s in its fleet.
While the Federal Aviation Administration and European Aviation Safety Authority have both claimed Airbus’ jets do not pose safety risks, Qatari regulators continue to believe the degradation is a threat to customer safety.
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.
However, last week, a UK judge ordered Airbus to delay its decision of rescinding a US$6 billion jet order from Qatar Airways of A321 jets.
According to Reuters, the planemaker was asked to delay it for several weeks, preventing it from allocating new early delivery slots to other airlines before an April hearing.
Qatar on Monday said it welcomed the injunction set by the court last week, and said it continues to try to “resolve the situation in a more amicable way” but has not seen any efforts on behalf of Airbus.
According to Reuters, Monday’s filing said it was in the interest of the airline to keep the aircraft grounded and seek Airbus for compensation due to low travel demand.
Qatar is gearing up to host the FIFA World Cup this year however and is depending on the widebody jets amid the surplus of anticipated tourists.
Airbus seeks US$220m over undelivered A350 jets to Qatar Comment
It’s time Airbus sued QA for damage to reputation. After all, that is what some of their case rests on. It could be a huge amount.