Airbus Revokes Qatar Airways Order for 50 A321neo

In what has been nothing short of a falling out that has been heavily publicised, Airbus has announced that it has revoked Qatar Airways’ order for 50 A321neo, which in an announcement made by the European plane manufacturer, were “in accordance to their in accordance with our rights.”

At the time of writing, Qatar Airways has yet to comment on the cancellation of its order.

This is a developing news and will be updated periodically. As well as that, more information may be found in the Reuters article linked below.

Looking at the relationship between Qatar Airways and Airbus, it’s a relationship that has been been deeply rooted in the A350, being the second largest operator of the type, but with orders to potentially make this the largest fleet.

However, towards the end of 2020, Qatar Airways was “forced” to ground 21 of its of A350 following a series of cracks developing in the surface paint of the fuselage.

While this was declared a cosmetic issue by Airbus and the European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA), Qatar Airways and its maintenance and engineering department has strongly disagreed with this, citing that the issue is one related to its safety, and has since filed for a suit in a London High Court, seeking well over $600 million dollars in damages, as well as an additional $4 million dollars for every day the planes are grounded.

While the handling of the issue has a lot left to be desired, it’s important to acknowledge that other airlines have been experiencing these issues, but have not withdrawn their fleet, citing that they were merely cosmetic and not in any way safety critical, with major airlines operating very sizeable fleets of the Airbus A350, such as Cathay Pacific, Singapore Airlines and Lufthansa among those affected by this issue.

It is also important to know that Qatar Airways has always been known to make brash and outgoing remarks, with its CEO, Akbar al Baker, known to make somewhat controversial remarks. That said, it’s important not to underwrite his success to leading Qatar Airways to the position that it’s currently in.


I can practically hear Boeing running to Qatar to sell them 737 MAXs at a quarter of the list price XD


If it’s really what it looks like from my point of view, I have lost my respect for Qatar Airways forever


Airbus woke up and chose violence, but for something so minor as cracks in the surface paint job, that’s hardly any reason to get into a dispute. I’ve seen planes that could use a whole new paint job and yet you hear absolutely nothing about them. I would think consumers would be more concerned with the product onboard, rather than the exterior of the plane, unless there were major spots where paint was missing.


Cracks in a paint job shouldn’t be considered a minor issue. These cracks were within the cabin, in prime eye view of the passengers forking out thousands to sit in luxury for a few hours. Each time cracks were found, Qatar Airways grounded the aircraft in order to repaint and fix the issue, costing anywhere in the hundreds of thousands.

This dispute is certainly turning into a cat and mouse game and I for one would be willing to buy front row tickets to see this fight.


I feel the same.


Ah, my bad. This is why I stay on the passenger side of the airline industry 😅

Too bad Ticketmaster or other third parties aren’t actually selling tickets to this fight between manufacturer and airlines, because I’d be right there with you.

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Airbus has repeatedly offered them free repaints. Neither the FAA nor the EASA has found any safety concerns related to that issue that would justify a grounding. Suspicion is that Qatar is only looking for a way to profit from some grounded aircraft it doesn’t need due to the pandemic anyways. The activation of the A380 might as well just be them trying to make their point of how desperate they are


I want to highly doubt the groundings are due to safety precautions. But more the simple dissatisfaction from the airline to even deliver a substandard product with an issue. This is a Gulf airline afterall, they only strive for the best of the best.

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Respectfully, I would like to challenge that notion. Emirates is also a Gulf airline, and they’ve gotten into a lot of trouble with their 777-300ER fleet as of late. Like that runway overrun that overflew houses beyond the airport at a very low altitude, and was mere seconds from taking out the localizer for 12L. Four crew members were let go as a result of that incident.


But why wouldn’t they then take the free repaint till a long-term solution is found?

If Qatar was dissatisfied with A350 product, why now? why not during deliveries or starting production of the A350? B787 are also have a huge list of issues especially they are now experiencing with paint issue on the wings. Some affected aircraft patched lots of speed tapes for temporary repairs. Atleast Airbus gave those affected airlines / aircraft free repairs. Qatar refused what Airbus offers to repair those affected fleet. I think there’s something behind the curtains.

Old airplanes getting new paint jobs doesn’t have any relevance to Qatar airway’s problem. Qatar is complaining about paint flaking from the fuselage and how it can affect the fuselage.

I never mentioned anything about the age of an airplane.

My bad. What I meant was you said that some planes that could use a new paint job, which I assumed was old airplanes.

Welcome to life. We’re human. Emirates has since fired the pilots and introduced new protocol to ensure it doesn’t happen again.

Not a clue. I’m not part of the board nor their legal team. What I do know is Cash is King.

I would assume this to be because this is when the issues have popped up. Granted, they have been around for a few months, but now both parties are being riled up over a small issue in comparison to the aircraft, but a large issue for PR. Could you imagine Qatar Airways flying an aircraft with cracks in the paint? This doesn’t give a good look, regardless of whether it made international news or not. The passengers would have seen enough.

Now, I’m off to bed (my local time dictates this). Let’s all make a conscious effort to get this train wreck back on topic.

I understand what has been written above may come off as harsh (or straight to the point). Unfortunately, my cognitive function has reached its capacity, it being 1am for me and all. Apologies if you took it in that way - it was in no way meant to be my intention.

Thanks for the chat!

Have a good one!

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I mean, a Qatar MAX would be a pretty sight. Can’t wait to see how this feud between Qatar and Airbus unfolds lol


Honestly I’d think it would look kinda weird lol

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Unfortunately in my eyes Airbus is wrong here. I am not going to get into the specifices but like Adam said. Qatar is a gulf airline and that has involvement in this issue. In their advertising, marketing and general image they put out to the public is everything is tip top, pristine and luxurious here. Having cracks on a plane whether it be cosmetic or not will make that airline a 100% no go for me. That in turn results in customers of Qatar Airways going to look elsewhere because with people who do not know all the in’s and out’s of aviation will choose to not fly that airline because they will be known to that consumer as the airline who has cracked aircraft. Airbus coming out and revoking their A321neo aircraft is just a show that Airbus is just playing dirty and that they want to show Qatar that they will simply not provide them with aircraft they paid for because they are upset that Qatar is upset over cracks on their aircraft.

Also with the points about “Ahhhhh Airbus offered them a repaint Qatar are just being clowns” is wrong. Qatar sure will accept the repaint but then if it appears again what is going to happen? The exact same thing. Qatar is looking for a full solution to this issue to make sure that it does not happen again and Airbus is dodging it which is making Qatar upset.

Again as a person who lives with people who are not into or know a single thing about aviation I know they will never fly Qatar because of this. It comes from a brand perspective as again their branding is “Luxury, pristine, fine and pure amazing” travel. I can assure you now having cracks on a airliner whether it be cosmetic or structural is not any of that. The airline obviously doesn’t want that.

Anyway that is my side of this story.



Edit: Would probably cause even more tension between the two.