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Mon, Feb 28, 2022

Qatar Seeks Injunction for A321neo Orders

While Slots Are on Hold Until April, The Airline Wants Its Planes

The latest in the Qatar vs. Airbus court fight has now seen a riposte to the manufacturer with the airline's demand that the canceled order for 50 Airbus A321neo jet be reinstated.

At last word, Airbus had been given a stay by the London court requiring them to hold about 60 order slots for Qatar Airways until April at the earliest, when things could be seen through in court. Now, Qatar has fired back, demanding the deal be honored, and if not - pay them damages for their trouble. The airline says that the "unique" aircraft would be difficult to replace on short notice, and the choice to cancel the order seems more like petty revenge than any actual business decision. 

The greater court case over the quality of A350 finishes is far from over. The airline recently said that Qatari authorities have grounded 21 of its 53 A350s over their safety concerns still unresolved. Airbus has accepted that there were issues with the fit and finish, as well as the longevity of their surface finishing, but has consistently maintained that it was a cosmetic issue with no danger to flight. The lawsuit for $600 million precedes the tremendous passenger loads that will be seen later this year at the FIFA World Cup, an issue that has left the airline on the back foot. While nearly 2 dozen of their large, high-capacity A350s are left out of commission, with another one recently grounded according to the newest filings. Despite a recent order with Boeing for dozens of 737 Max aircraft, with options for more, the airline seems to prefer the airbus product where possible. With an injunction to grant the A321neo order slots or pay damages, things seem to have tilted back in favor of Qatar - for the time being. 

FMI: www.qatarairways.com, www.airbus.com

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