Airbus and Qatar Airways made headlines after Airbus cancelled the order for 50 A321neos and 2 A350-1000 aircraft. However, Qatar Airways on Friday asked the London court to stop the cancellation process, as reported by Reuters.
Qatar Airways expected deliveries from next February
Qatar Airways operates both Boeing and Airbus aircraft, and each manufacturer plays a major role in its fleet. The Doha-based carrier expected around six A321neos a month from next February. The lawyer of Qatar Airways, Philip Shepherd, says, “a hand grenade thrown in our bunker”. He claimed the decision to be misguided and illegal. The trouble began with A350’s paint issues, and 21 planes had to be grounded.
Although the European carrier says the aircraft to be safe, Qatar airways sued Airbus for US$600 million and $4 million every day until the problem is analyzed formally. Shepherd also added:
“They took the risk and knew it would be absolutely incendiary. We have paid $330 million for this A321neo contract so far. Cancelling the A321neos was a tactical move designed to put pressure on Qatar over the A350 dispute.”
Airbus told to delay cancellations
Following the request from Qatar Airways, the London court has ordered the European manufacturer to put the move on hold. Since the decision is on hold, the slots cannot be given to other airlines. Both the airline and manufacturer have to wait till April for court. If Qatar Airways wins the case, the deliveries will probably resume as normal.
The new aircraft would have played a significant role in Qatar’s fleet. Given the location, Qatar can be very flexible with the plane and operate it to destinations in Europe, Africa and Asia. It can fly to destinations that demand more than a smaller narrowbody and fly to destinations where a smaller widebody like the A330 could be operated.
Not getting the aircraft could be bad news for the airline, and they will definitely miss out on many routes. This could be the reason why Qatar wants to avoid A321neo cancellation.