The dispute between Airbus and Qatar Airways has gathered further momentum with the European planemaker cancelling the fourth of six A350s, this one at the end of June. It is anticipated that the A350 due for delivery at the end of July will also be cancelled by Airbus.
The spat has developed over a difference of opinion concerning surface scars which have appeared on the paintwork of the jet. Airbus claims the aircraft are still safe to fly, while Qatar Airways claims they are not and has consequently refused to take deliveries of the jets or pay for them. The case reached the British courts in May where Qatar Airways was fighting for the right to refuse to take delivery of the jets. However, the British court decided in favour of Airbus, and this automatically triggered payment clauses as more planes were completed.
With Qatar Airways refusing to take delivery or pay for the ordered jets, this has left Airbus free to sell them to an alternative airline and it is believed that Air India may be a potential buyer. Qatar Airways claims Airbus is wrong in trying to offer new jets for delivery, while Airbus claims the airline has broken its contract by refusing to take delivery of them and is consequently revoking orders for undelivered aircraft one by one, as they are completed.
According to REUTERS news agency, the two are due to meet in a London court on Thursday, July 7, in the latest of a series of procedural hearings ahead of a full trial tentatively scheduled for June next year unless a settlement can be reached beforehand.