Airbus cancels Qatar Airways' A321neo order amid ongoing dispute

Aviation Updates Philippines – In the latest round of a dispute between Airbus and Qatar Airways involving fuselage deterioration on the A350s, Airbus is cancelling an order by Qatar Airways for 50 A321neos.

Image: Artist depiction of Qatar Airways A321neo (Image Credit: Airbus)

The move to cancel the order was revealed during arguments heard at the High Court of the UK between Airbus and Qatar Airways, which stems from issues first raised by the Qatari-based airline in the summer of 2021 regarding the A350s.

In a recent press release on January 21, Qatar Airways addressed the cancellation of the order saying: “Airbus has responded by seeking to cancel an entirely separate contract for the delivery of 50 A321 Neo aircraft. We confirm that we are adhering to all of our obligations under all applicable contracts. It is therefore a matter of considerable regret and frustration that Airbus has taken the apparent decision to expand and escalate this dispute.”

The first A321neo for Qatar Airways is due for delivery in 2023.

Qatar Airways has continued to its claims regarding the grounding of the A350s due to the concerns of surface degradation on the fuselage of its A350 aircraft. The airline reports 21 A350s have been grounded due to what it sees are “serious and legitimate safety concerns.”  

To support its claims, Qatar Airways has since released a new video which can be seen on the airline's YouTube channel showing the surface degradation on its A350s.

“We continue to urge Airbus to undertake a satisfactory root cause analysis into the cause of the defects, as it is required to do. Qatar Airways remains prepared to help with the root cause analysis however it can. In the meantime, we will continue to robustly defend our position in the legal proceedings,” the airline added in a statement.

Legal proceedings between Airbus and Qatar Airways are expected to take place in April following a decision by the High Court of the UK to expedite the issue.