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Two defeats in a row in the judicial field? More is needed to stop Qatar Airways and its CEO Akbar al Baker, who are determined to win their case in the dispute between themselves and Airbus over A350 skinning problems. If last week, the leader said “I only hope that this dispute can be resolved out of court”, the situation seems radically different with only a few days of difference.
In an extensive statement, the Qatari company presented a transcript of the statements made by Judge David Waksman on May 26 during a hearing at the High Court of Justice in London, in charge of ruling on the case. This exposes proponents of the dispute between the two parties, namely that the A350’s paint peeling “results from a different coefficient of expansion between the composite fiber reinforced polymer (CFRP) from which the fuselage is made and the expanded copper layer (ECF, mesh of copper wires that covers the carbon parts of the fuselage to provide protection against lightning, forming a Faraday cage, editor’s note), which is glued or polymerized”, which therefore , the problem is likely to recur and there is no “easy fix” to definitively address it.
On the other hand, the judge does not rule on the merits of the case, that is, if this problem is only of an aesthetic nature, as Airbus maintains, or if it has an impact on flight safety as Qatar Airways affirms.
Qatar Airways dismissed for its injunctions
It was enough for Qatar Airways to claim victory. What Airbus judged as “a totally wrong interpretation”. The construction company wants proof of this due to the fact that the National High Court rejected all the injunctions issued by the Gulf company.
On April 26, the British court validated the cancellation of an A321 NEO contract, decided by Airbus in response to the accusations against the A350 and firmly resolved by Qatar Airways. And on May 26, during the hearing cited by the airline, Judge Waksman rejected three other requests from the latter. Qatar Airways thus requested the High Court to divide the trial into two parts (a first dedicated to analyzing the root causes of the problem and a second to resolve the dispute itself), to prohibit Airbus from continuing to present A350 for delivery as usual. and when the dispute is not resolved (these are currently rejected by the company, which exposes it to contractual compensation clauses), but also prohibits the manufacturer from reselling said rejected devices to another company.
Therefore, Airbus can still claim Qatar Airways’ payment terms for aircraft in production or awaiting delivery, or sell them elsewhere. The Reuters agency, citing industrial sources, thus raises the interest of Air India.
The manufacturer adds “as a simple barometer” that British justice has sentenced Qatar to pay 97% of Airbus’ legal costs.
Airbus continues to claim to want to favor an amicable resolution, but the case seems to be heading in the wrong direction and the chances of litigation continuing to trial are increasing. The two parties and the judge agree on the need to go fast, this could be held in a year, in the summer of 2023.