Plane manufacturer Airbus has warned investors it faces “material adverse impact” as the result of an ongoing court battle with Qatar Airways, over the Qatari airline’s claims it was forced to ground multiple aircraft due to an underlying “design defect” in Airbus’ planes.
In a financial statement, Airbus said Qatar Airways’ lawsuit could have an adverse impact on its reputation and balance sheet, as it rejected the airline’s “mischaracterisation” of the situation, and vowed to “defend itself vigorously in the proceedings”.
The statements come after Qatar Airways filed a lawsuit in London’s Commercial Court last December over claims a design flaw in the Airbus’ A350 plane caused rapid and unexpected degradation of the aircraft.
Qatar Airways’ London court claim followed the Qatar Civil Aviation Authority’s (QCAA’s) decision to ground 28 of the airline’s 53-strong fleet of A350s, over concerns around the accelerated degradation issue which the plane operator blames on Airbus’ design.
The claim, through which Qatar Airways is seeking $1bn (£860m) in damages relating to the losses it has suffered due to the grounding of its A350s, is now set to be heard in London in the second quarter of 2023.
Qatar Airways is also calling on the court to mandate that Airbus carries out a full root cause analysis over the degradation issues, alongside an order blocking the French manufacturer from delivering any more A350s to Qatar until the degradation issues have been resolved.
An Airbus spokesperson told City A.M. the firm continues to favour “an amicable solution” to its dispute with Qatar Airways, as they said the manufacturer “will defend our company, our products and our customers in the face of the legal case”.
The spokesperson said a thorough assessment of the issue carried out alongside the European Union Aviation Safety Authority (EUASA) previously “confirmed there is no airworthiness impact and no technical impediment to the continued operation of Qatar Airways’ A350 fleet.”
The Airbus representative said that while some 500 A350s have been delivered globally, Qatar Airways has only grounded part of its fleet.