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Why Airbus Is Canceling Orders From Qatar Airways, One of Its Best Customers

For more than two decades, Airbus SE and Qatar Airways have been locked in a tumultuous relationship. The Gulf airline’s chief executive officer, Akbar Al Baker, has always relished a good fight, ridiculing the plane maker’s managers in public or refusing to take aircraft because of a perceived defect. Each time, Airbus endured the torment because the carrier is among its best customers, with billions of dollars’ worth of planes on order. ( More...

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Alan Fletcher 5
Right-click on the link and use a private window to open the link and you will get past the paywall.
djames225 1
That worked great. Thanks for the info.
avionik99 4
You get 3 free articles per month then the paywall shows up. Perhaps thats why some get it and some do not?
Gavin Waters 3
It was interesting to watch the escalation of this complaint by Qatar Airways (I'll refer as QA) in comparison to earlier issues with, say, refused plane deliveries for cabin finishes etc. So here, it seems QA went too far for Airbus to tolerate, stating safety issues from their country regulator. I believe the head of said regulator is the head of QA. What we see in the video is not the first aircraft found with deterioration. Rather its from planes left out in the elements without remediation for months if not years. Clearly Airbus and the "paint" suppliers have to work out a long term solution, but the short term fix is to repair any lightning grid damage and re-coat (several layers) the plane. As stated, other airlines seem to have taken care of this and are all still flying their A350's and Airbus are still announcing new orders. QA therefore seem to have taken an extreme position and it will be interesting to see the outcome of the court case. Bear in mind that QA petitioned the court to prevent Airbus delivering any further A350's, so why shouldn't Airbus cancel their orders. Further, if it IS a provision in the A321 contract why shouldn't they cancel that order also. Has QA miscalculated the reaction of Airbus based on earlier concessions? The court will decide?
lynx318 2
Maybe Airbus should add a flex additive to the paint like the auto industry does on plastics like bumper bars.
djames225 2
I believe both Airbus and Boeing have it in the paint, especially for their carbon fiber craft. Both companies are working on fixes but for now it is fix it as best as possible so it does not deteriorate. Qatar wants a permanent
lynx318 1
Are they victimising Airbus when it comes down to a paint manufacturer more so? All conjecture without knowing more details, unfortunately .

djames225 1
It isn't just the paint thou. It is also the materials below the paint that are also reacting. And with Qatar, who knows (doubtful from looks/sounds of it) if they have been keeping up with the fixes Airbus has recommended until there is a permanent solution.
Conjecture? Maybe, but it is questionable when other airlines fly both aircraft and are still flying them.
Juan Jimenez 3
Al Baker comes off as a skinny, sour-pussed Arab who needs to learn manners.
jeff slack -2
Seriously? Skinny sour puss?
CEO with insanely high standards is a sour puss?

CEO that drives one of the few airlines left with an extramely high customer service level and extremely high fit and interior finish to his aircraft(?) a sour puss?

Unlike sour puss CEOs that allow an aircraft to be built according to shareholder returns and then they crash and kill(?); just making sure I have this right.

Have you seen the paint damage and the exposed lightning skin on these a350s?
Delta has announced the same concern.

I suppose he will just have to be a sour puss until one of these jets drops out of the air and kills a bunch of people, at which time you can call him astute and wise for demanding health and safety for his fleet, staff, and customers.
djames225 3
Just curious. If your last line holds true, "
I suppose he will just have to be a sour puss until one of these jets drops out of the air and kills a bunch of people, at which time you can call him astute and wise for demanding health and safety for his fleet, staff, and customers", why is it other airlines flying either the A350 OR B787 (it also has similar paint issues and Boeing and Airbus are formulating repair strategies) have continued to fly them? Al Baker may have high standards for many things, but at the same time he can be demeaning and manipulative.
cscs3 0
Think font have to wait till is drops out from the air. If a passenger see such a aircraft condition before boarding. His confident level is gone with the airlines.
lynx318 1
Finnair states they have noticed it too but see it as a cosmetic paint problem with thermal contraction of the metals under it. They are still flying theirs.
djames225 2
They have also been with Airbus and did temp repairs as an added measure.
The same with Delta and others.
Gavin Waters 0
I think Qatar Airways are entitled to a fully fit for purpose, as specified, warranted and finished airplane and they are very strict on getting that. What's interesting is then how QA maintain them and how the "wear and tear" and "consumables" (like tires) are treated. Paint (which is far more complex than just paint because it has many layers the first bonding one would be critical) surely is a known issue that deterioration due to weather, damage, cleaning, time and other things needs inspection, upkeep, repair and repainting in certain circumstances. The issue Qatar Airways raises now is how responsible Airbus is for the coating layers lasting a certain number of years and to fix it "permanently" which seems rather optimistic given its nature and the elements and with the aircraft being out of Airbus realm of control in airline service for example flying through volcanic ash and sandstorms from time to time! I think Qatar Airways have demanded too much from Airbus in this instance, who by their accounts have tried to work with them (presumably to re-coat the airplanes) to no avail. Leaving damaged coatings out in the elements for years and making a video of the result is not very convincing to me.
mbrews 2
Paywalled ...
pilotjag 2
When I first accessed the link there was no pay wall. And I don't even have a subscription. My mistake... Should be more careful...
lynx318 1
Go here if it helps.
patrick baker 1
don't offer us a tantalizing explaination from a place where we must fork over sheckels first. The folks who read this web site are worthy of free access to opinions for commentary. If you can't do that, then don't tease us
pilotjag 1
If this comment was supposed to be a jab or something, you're gonna have to try harder than that. Read my comment below. May not be enough to take back what you said... But here's to hoping you have some sort of understanding...


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