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April 18, 2024
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Airbus has canceled all remaining orders from Qatar Airways from its backlog by deleting nineteen A350-1000s from the order book. The move was first reported by Reuters in August but confirmed today when Airbus released its orders and deliveries tables for August. Airbus deletes final Qatar A350s from its backlog.

The cancelation is another twist in the ugly spat between the airframer and the airline, which started with Qatar Airways complaining publicly about the paint quality and corrosion on some of its older A350-900s in early 2021. Airbus stated in August of that year that it understood the problem of paint peeling on the carbon fiber fuselage and on the wings, but stressed that they didn’t form a safety issue. This was confirmed by Europe’s regulatory agency, EASA. Qatar thought differently, with the Qatar regulatory authority grounding thirteen A350s. This number has increased to 23 now (the main picture by the author shows some of them in Doha in June 2022).

In November 2021, the airline criticized Airbus for the lack of progress on the matter, accusing the OEM of not taking the issue seriously. It announced in December that it would seek a ruling from the London High Court. The feud got deeper when Airbus announced in January this year that it had terminated the order for fifty A321neos, citing cross-default from the side of Qatar Airways because the airline had failed to take delivery of A350s.

Qatar sought an injunction from the court to prevent Airbus from offering the A321neo to other customers but was denied this in April. During the Farnborough Airshow in July, Qatar confirmed a Memorandum of Understanding for 25 Boeing MAX 10 plus 25 options that was announced in January and which had initially lapsed.

The London High Court said in May that it planned a three-month expedited trial on the case for June 2023, but it hoped that the two parties would find a settlement before that. While Qatar Airways hasn’t taken delivery of any A350s since last year, it retained the order for nineteen remaining A350-1000s. Until Airbus took the decision to unilaterally terminate the contract for these aircraft too, which means that it has no more aircraft on the backlog to Qatar Airways.

Qatar A350-1000s that have been assembled but are stored in Toulouse are MSN409, MSN430, MSN438, MSN440, MSN444, and MSN450. Except for MSN450, all aircraft had done their first flight.

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Active as a journalist since 1987, with a background in newspapers, magazines, and a regional news station, Richard has been covering commercial aviation on a freelance basis since late 2016.
Richard is contributing to AirInsight since December 2018. He also writes for Airliner World, Aviation News, Piloot & Vliegtuig, and Luchtvaartnieuws Magazine. Twitter: @rschuur_aero.

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