Qatar Airways is claiming more than $600m in compensation from planemaker Airbus for surface flaws on A350 jetliners, according to a court document shedding new light on a growing business feud worth $4m a day.
The Gulf carrier is also asking British judges to order France-based Airbus not to attempt to deliver any more of the jets until what it describes as a design defect has been fixed.
The two companies have been locked in a dispute for months about damage including blistered paint, cracked window frames or riveted areas and erosion of a layer of lightning protection.
Qatar Airways said its national regulator has ordered it to stop flying 21 out of its 53 A350 jets as the problems appeared, prompting a bitter dispute with Airbus which has said that, while it acknowledges technical problems, there is no safety issue.
Now, the financial and technical details associated with the rare legal spat have emerged in a court filing at a High Court division in London, where Qatar Airways sued Airbus in December.
The Gulf airline is calling for $618m in compensation from Airbus for the partial grounding, plus $4m for every day that the 21 jets remain out of service.
The claim includes $76m for one aircraft alone – a five-year-old A350 that was due to be re-painted in livery for the 2022 World Cup, which Qatar is hosting later this year.
That aircraft has been parked in France for a year, needing 980 repair patches after the aborted paint job exposed gaps in the lightning shield, industry sources said.
Qatar Airways has ordered a total of 80 A350s.