A British judge on Thursday granted Qatar Airways a relatively quick trial against Airbus in an aircraft safety dispute, but dismissed several procedural claims including an attempt by the airline to split the case in two parts.
The two companies have quarreled for months over the efficiency of Europe’s last long-haul aircraft after a protective coating on its fuselage was damaged, destroying one of the aviation industry’s most important business relationships.
The judge’s decision means that Airbus has a choice between trying to continue delivering the A350s to Qatar Airways, but that would mean adjusting the payment terms or trying to sell all the rejected planes to other airlines such as Air India, which industry sources say could anticipate .request for purchase.
Qatar Airways has asked the British Supreme Court to split the case and order Airbus to conduct a more thorough analysis of issues affecting the system to protect aircraft from striking lightning strikes. in media commercial aircraft once a year.
He also called for Airbus to be prevented from attempting to deliver more A350s in Qatar or to resell any aircraft that had not been delivered to other airlines while the dispute between the two sides was heard.
The judge denied both requests, but granted Qatar’s request for an expedited trial in the main security and contract dispute between the two parties.
Qatar has grounded more than 20 A350s after weathering of the outer skin revealed damage or gaps in the lightning net.
The Qatari airline says this raises questions about the safety of the plane in question and refused to take in delivered additional aircraft of this model before further analysis and claimed $ 1 billion in compensation.
Airbus acknowledges the quality problems but insists that the planes are safe and has continued to try to force Qatar Airways to take more planes.
Other airlines are continuing to fly the A350 after European aviation authorities said the paint problem did not affect its airworthiness. In discussions privatesenior industry officials told Reuters that the two sides must reach a compromise.
The dispute escalated in January when Airbus canceled a separate contract with Qatar Airways to purchase smaller A321neo aircraft. The same judge last month rejected a Qatar Airways attempt to force Airbus to deliver the planes.
Airbus declared a partial victory based on the initial ruling, but people close to Qatar Airways said the main focus would be on trial.
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