Airbus said on Thursday it had cancelled a contract with Qatar Airways for 50 A321neo jets, broadening a $600-million-plus dispute with the Gulf carrier over the larger A350.
“We confirm we did terminate the contract for 50 A321s with Qatar Airways in accordance with our rights,” a spokesman said.
Airbus accused Qatar Airways of instigating a local grounding of A350 jetliners in order to claim compensation over alleged surface defects, and terminating a separate order for its hard-to-get A321neos.
“There is no reasonable or rational basis” for Qatari regulators to have grounded 21 of the A350s operated by the state-owned carrier, according to documents prepared by Airbus for a London court.
The planemaker will contend that Qatar Airways “sought to engineer or has acquiesced” in the groundings because it’s in the airline’s economic interest to idle planes “given the impact of the coronavirus pandemic” on demand.
In a statement, Qatar Airways released footage of the damaged paint of an A350 in response to Airbus accusations.