Qatar Airways, Airbus reach settlement in A350 legal case

LONDON (AP) — Qatar Airways and Airbus have reached a settlement in a longstanding legal dispute over the safety of the A350 jetliner and billions of orders for other planes.

The companies said in a joint statement Wednesday that the settlement was “amicable and mutually agreeable.”

“A repair project is now underway and both parties look forward to getting these aircraft safely back in the air,” the companies said in a statement.

Qatar Airways had grounded Airbus A350s over what it described as fuselages “degrading at an accelerated rate” in the long-range aircraft. The airline had raised questions about the A350’s carbon composite fuselage, designed to make the twin-aisle aircraft lighter and cheaper to operate by burning less jet fuel.

In December 2021, Qatar’s national carrier announced it was suing Airbus in London over what it described as the “accelerated surface degradation” of the wide-body A350.

The next month, European planemaker Airbus terminated a multibillion-dollar order by Qatar Airways for 50 of its smaller single-aisle in-demand A321neo jets. The termination of the contract for the Airbus 321neos followed by Qatar Airways’ refusal to take any more A350s until the problem was fixed.

Now that the dispute has been resolved, Airbus will “reintegrate” Qatar’s 50 A321neo orders, with deliveries due to resume in 2026, Airbus spokesman Justin Dubon said. The Toulouse, France-based planemaker will also resume deliveries this year of 23 A350s that the airline had put on hold because of the dispute, he said.

The details of the settlement are confidential, and there is no admission of liability.

“This agreement will enable Qatar Airways and Airbus to move forward and work together as partners,” the companies’ statement said.

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