`IATA’s Director-General warns of Airbus-Qatar Airways spat consequences

  • Walsh slams Airbus’ decision to revoke order for 50 A321neo aircraft

 

The Director-General of the International Air Transport Association (IATA), Willie Walsh warned that the ongoing dispute between Airbus and Qatar Airways would leave a negative impact on the industry.

He made the disclosure at the just-concluded IATA Annual General Meeting (AGM) held in Doha, Qatar.

The IATA chief faulted the European aircraft maker’s decision to revoke an order for 50 A321neo aircraft amid the rift, affirming that the move would prompt airlines to cancel deals whenever unhappy with manufacturers’ performance.

On his part, Qatar Airways Group CEO, Akbar Al Baker said that manufacturers should not take advantage of market dominance to “bully airlines.”

Qatar Airways aircraft

A rambling dispute

The two industry superpowers had been enmeshed in a fierce legal battle over damage under the fuselage paint across the carrier’s A350 fleet, prompting the grounding of 21 aircraft over air safety concerns by the Qatari Civil Aviation Authority (QCAA).

The rapidly escalating quarrel incited Airbus to cancel an order for 50 A321neo aircraft, on which a London’s High Court verdict cleared the aircraft maker to terminate the contract and resell the aircraft to other customers and compelled the gulf airline to pay $331,000 in legal fees.

The Qatari flag carrier was denied procedural claims to split the court case into two separate cases, in a speedy trial held on May 26th, 2022.

A possible resolution

On the sidelines of the industry meeting in Doha, Airbus’ CEO, Guillaume Faury said the aircraft manufacturer was in talks with Qatar Airways to resolve the ongoing dispute.

 

“There’s progress in the sense that we are communicating; we are working with each other,” Faury said, adding that he believes that both parties “share the view that a settlement would be a better way forward.”

On its part, the airline seemed to welcome the possibility of a mutual agreement. According to Al Baker, the carrier hopes that the dispute “could be resolved outside the courts of law.”

Wole Shadare