A UK judge has granted Qatar Airways a speedy trial against plane manufacturer Airbus in what is the latest round of the $1bn corporate divorce saga.
“I am in absolutely no doubt that this case should be tried as soon as is practically possible,” Judge David Walksman said.
He added that the trial could start from June next year and last for around three months.
The two opponents have been locked in a furious feud over the past few months, after the Qatari carrier was forced to ground its A350 fleet over surface damages.
Qatar Airways stopped taking A350 orders as Qatar’s aviation regulator found that a paint defect on the surface of the A350 was leaving lightning protection exposed.
While Airbus dismissed the defect as only aesthetic, the airline took it to court and sought $1bn in damages.
Qatar asked the judge to divide the trial into two parts to allow for an analysis of the surface damages, while it sought to block Airbus from both delivering the aircraft or try and sell it to other airlines.
The judge denied both these claims meaning that Airbus can continue with the A350 deliveries to Qatar Airways and seek payments or it could try and sell the rejected fleet to other potential buyers, including Air India.
“The costs for both sides are way over the top in my judgment,” the judge added. “There is far too much time that is being spent here.”
Commenting on the verdict, the airline said it was “pleased with the judgement.”
“We entered into this process to secure an expedited trial and early disclosure from Airbus that will give us an insight into the true nature of surface degradation affecting the A350s,” it said in a statement.
“We will finally be able assess the cause of the damage to our aircraft and the expedited trial will provide a swift resolution of this unprecedented dispute.”