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left to be desired, it’s important to acknowledge that other airlines have been experiencing these issues, but have not withdrawn their fleet, citing that they were merely cosmetic and not in any way safety critical, with major airlines operating very sizeable fleets of the Airbus A350,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.