Qatar Airways has announced it is ready to see the legal dispute against Airbus go to trial after a UK judge granted the airline speedy proceedings.
The trial could start from June next year and last throughout the summer.
“Qatar Airways is ready to see this matter through to trial to ensure that its rights are protected and that Airbus is required to address an unprecedented and extremely unique and concerning defect impacting the A350 aircraft type, across the industry and multiple carriers,” the Doha-based carrier said today in a statement.
The airline and the plane manufacturer have been locked in a spat for the last few months, after Qatar was forced by its aviation authority to ground its A350 fleet over surface damages.
Qatar Airways stopped taking orders for the A350 aircraft and took the EU plane maker to court for $1bn.
The carrier said the defect was not only aesthetic – as claimed by Airbus and EU regulators – but it had become a safety issue as it left the lightning rod exposed.
High Court justice David Waksman accepted the carrier’s claims last week, arguing that surface issues were not a one-off and that they would be bound to impact other A350 planes because of the aircraft’s design and manufacturing.
“We have long been arguing that there is more to this issue than just paint and that the remedies proposed by Airbus do not deal with the fundamental issues affecting the A350,” a company spokesperson said.
“We’re very pleased that this view has now been understood and accepted by the court.”
Qatar initially asked the court to divide the trial into two parts to carry out an analysis of the damages.
It also sought to block Airbus from delivering the fleet or try and sell it to rival companies.
The judge denied both requests and allowed Airbus to continue delivering A350s to Qatar Airways and seek damages if the airline refuses to pay or try and sell the fleet to other potential buyers.