By Olivia Bugault

 

Qatar Airways said late Monday it has filed legal proceedings against European plane maker Airbus SE related to fuselage surface degradation on A350 widebody jets.

Qatar Airways, one of the largest operators of A350s, has been at loggerheads with Airbus for months as they clashed on whether the surface degradation could cause safety risks or not.

"We have sadly failed in all our attempts to reach a constructive solution with Airbus in relation to the accelerated surface degradation condition adversely impacting the Airbus A350 aircraft," the carrier said. "Qatar Airways has therefore been left with no alternative but to seek a rapid resolution of this dispute via the courts."

The long-haul carrier is suing Airbus in the technology and construction division of the High Court in London, England, it said.

The Gulf carrier said it has so far grounded 21 A350 jets because of the issue.

In August, Qatar Airways said it had to ground 13 A350s at the instruction of its regulators because of surface and paint damages on concerns that they could pose safety issues. Its Chief Executive Akbar Al Baker said at the time that the airline--which operates a fleet of more than 50 A350 jets--wouldn't take further A350 deliveries until Airbus found the root cause and corrected it.

The European aerospace giant acknowledged in a statement late Monday that it has received a formal legal claim from the airline and is analysing its content, adding that it intends to "vigorously defend its position."

Earlier this month, the plane maker--which doesn't dispute the existence of surface degradation on some A350 aircraft--said the issue has no effect on its fleet's airworthiness, a finding that it said was confirmed by the European Union Aviation Safety Agency.

At the time, Airbus also said it was seeking an independent legal assessment in the face of what it called "ongoing mischaracterization" of the degradation by a customer who dismissed the solutions proposed by the aircraft manufacturer.

Qatar Airways said Monday that Airbus must launch a thorough investigation into the root cause of the surface flaws. "Without a proper understanding of the root cause of the condition, it is not possible for Qatar Airways to establish whether any proposed repair solution will rectify the underlying condition," the airline said.

 

Write to Olivia Bugault at olivia.bugault@wsj.com

 

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

December 21, 2021 05:22 ET (10:22 GMT)

Copyright (c) 2021 Dow Jones & Company, Inc.
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