Willie Walsh, former boss of British Airways’ owner IAG and now at the helm of the International Air Transport Association, has condemned the ongoing row between Airbus and Qatar Airways.
Weighing in on Airbus’s decision to revoke Qatar Airways’ order of 50 A321 planes, Walsh said it was a “new and worrying development,” telling Reuters that understanding the reasons behind the feud was fundamental for relations to get back to normal between airlines and plane makers.
Airbus’s decision came as Qatar published a video of the damaged A350s, raising the stakes on a row which has locked the two companies for the last few months.
In December, the airline decided to take the plane maker to court in the UK over damaged A350 planes, after it was forced to ground several aircraft following damages to the model’s surface, City A.M. has reported.
Beginning at the end of April, the lawsuit will see Qatar Airways seek $618m in compensation from Airbus.
After an initial back and forth between the two, in which Airbus argued that the defect was only cosmetic and did not represent any risk, the plane maker was forced to admit fault as more airlines came forward with the same issues.
“When there is a problem it is always better to admit it, not to put your customer in a corner and blame them for something which is actually your own problem,” said Qatar Airways’ chief executive Akbar Al Baker during an Aviation Club’s lunch on 30 November.