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UK Judge Orders Airbus to Delay Revoking Qatar Airways Plane Order

2 min read
Qatar Airlines law insider

Mitali Palnitkar

Published On: February 21, 2022 at 15:36 IST

Airbus, a plane manufacturer was ordered by a British Judge to delay practical effects of the decision to revoke six billion dollars jet order from Qatar Airways for weeks, as both are involved in a Court Case.

Airbus is prevented from allocating valuable early delivery slots for A321neo plane which is in demand until an April hearing is pending during which the Qatar Airways plans to seek an injunction reinstating the contract.

The two sides have been disputing for months over the surface flaws on A350s, some of which have been grounded by Qatar due to safety concerns as Qatar Airways sues Airbus for 600 million dollars.

Though Airbus acknowledged the quality problems, it accused the airline for wrongly labeling it as a safety issue for securing compensation.

In January, Airbus revoked a deal of 50 A321neos with Qatar stating that since it refused to take disputed A350s, it triggered a clause linking the two plane deals.

On February 18, Qatar Airways condemned the decision and stated, “They took the risk and knew it would be absolutely incendiary. We have paid $330 million for this (A321neo) contract so far and they knew it was a hand grenade being thrown into our bunker.”

The Hearing for Qatar’s request for an injunction is set from April 4 and the main dispute is listed for hearing on April 26.

The UK Judge rejected Airbus’ request for time to prepare and ordered not to do anything that might scupper its ability to fulfill the A321neo deal in case Qatar wins the Case.

Airbus’ Lawyer Rosalind Phelps stated that the cancelled planes were removed from its industrial plans and its supply chain was warned of damage.

On February 17, Airbus Chief Executive Guillaume Faury stated that it had been forced to cancel A321neo order to exercise its rights. On February 18, he reiterated that Airbus was ready for an amicable situation adding that it would take time.

The first plane is to be delivered in February 2023 with planes due to be delivered at rate of 6 a year.

Qatar Airways is expected to seek for preserving the A321neo deal while Airbus is preparing counterclaims in A350 Case. It cancelled 2 out of 23 A350s on order for Qatar but agreed to not look for alternative buyers as of now.