According to a court filing giving fresh information on a growing commercial conflict worth $4 million per day, Qatar Airways is seeking more than $600 million in compensation from planemaker Airbus for surface flaws on A350 jetliners.
The Gulf airline is also requesting that British judges force Airbus, based in France, to stop attempting to deliver any more of the planes until a design flaw is remedied.
For months, the two corporations have been at odds about damage such as blistered paint, cracked window frames or riveted areas, and the degradation of a lightning protective layer.
As a result of the concerns, Qatar Airways claimed its national regulator has ordered it to cease flying 21 of its 53 A350 planes, sparking a fierce feud with Airbus, which has argued that while technical issues exist, there is no safety risk.
The financial and technical details of the unusual legal dispute have now been revealed in a court file in a London High Court division, where Qatar Airways sued Airbus in December.
The Gulf airline is suing Airbus for $618 million in compensation for the partial grounding, plus $4 million every day the 21 planes are out of operation.
The claim includes $76 million for only one plane, a five-year-old A350 that was supposed to be repainted in livery for the 2022 FIFA World Cup, which Qatar will host later this year.
According to industry insiders, the aircraft has been parked in France for a year and requires 980 repair patches after a botched paint job discovered breaches in the lightning shield.
The largest client of Europe’s most popular long-haul jet argues Airbus failed to deliver a thorough root-cause investigation required to resolve unanswered issues about the affected jets’ airworthiness, including the lightning protection system.
Airbus said it understands the situation and will completely deny the airline’s allegation. It has accused the airline, which was formerly one of its most prized clients, of attempting to portray the difficulties as a safety issue.