Qatar Airways and Airbus will go to trial next year to settle an ongoing dispute over flaws in protective paint on some A350 jetliners. A UK High Court judge on Thursday ruled the case was of public interest after the Doha-based carrier questioned the safety of more than 20 grounded aircraft.
The expedited trial is set to commence in June 2023.
In a statement Qatar Airways said it is “extremely pleased” with the decision.
“We entered into this process to secure an expedited trial and early disclosure from Airbus that will give us an insight into the true nature of surface degradation affecting the A350s.
“We will finally be able to assess the cause of the damage to our aircraft and the expedited trial will provide a swift resolution of this unprecedented dispute,” the carrier said.
Airbus has acknowledged these and other aircraft are suffering surface erosion, but insists they are safe with the backing of European regulators, Reuters reported.
While the judge backed the airline’s call for a speedy trial, he refused to order Airbus to stop formally trying to deliver more A350s to Qatar Airways, or to refrain from re-selling undelivered aircraft.
Qatar Airways, which agreed to launch the A350 as its largest customer in 2007, has refused to take more deliveries amid the ongoing dispute.
“Our commitment to the safety and security of our passengers and crew remains at the core of everything we do,” the carrier continued.
According to Reuters, the “public divorce” has drawn concerns from top officials in Qatar and France, where Airbus is based, but so far neither state has intervened directly.