According to two sources with knowledge of the situation, Airbus (AIR.PA) and Qatar Airways are getting closer to resolving their heated disagreement over the A350 aircraft that are now grounded.
There is little assurance that an agreement can be achieved after months of public fighting after prior attempts to prevent a prominent trial in London this year were abandoned.
Airbus and Qatar Airways
However, two of the sources claimed that following a flurry of political activity and a successful four-way meeting between the two firms and their respective regulators in Doha last week, the tone appeared more hopeful and negotiations had accelerated.
One of the individuals promised that “an agreement” would be reached, but another source emphasized that the negotiations were still in progress. Both Airbus and Qatar Airways were silent at the time.
The safety implications of flaking paint that exposed corrosion and holes in a sub-layer of lightning protection have been the subject of months of litigation between the two firms in a UK court.
Due to the conflict between two of the biggest companies in aviation, Airbus has had to cancel large-scale orders on an unprecedented scale, which has given its American rival Boeing more business.
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The conflict between two of France’s and Qatar’s major businesses has also come to the notice of the two nations’ presidents, who are both interested in maintaining their countries’ close diplomatic and economic connections.
In the past few weeks, the matter has been discussed again between French President Emmanuel Macron and Qatari Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani, according to diplomatic sources who spoke to Reuters this month.
An employee of Macron’s office stated on Tuesday that there was “no remark at this time.” Requests for comment from the Qatari government’s media office were not promptly fulfilled.
French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire
During a four-day trip to the Gulf, French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire also brought up the subject, according to a source in the ministry. On Sunday, he stopped in Doha and spoke with the emir and other officials.
Qatar Airways has stopped accepting deliveries of the A350 and is suing Airbus for a fee that has increased much above $1 billion as a result of damage to the anti-lightning system that has been documented.
While acknowledging quality issues with its top long-haul aircraft, Airbus maintains there is no safety risk, which is backed up by its regulator. It has canceled all pending new business with Qatar Airways and filed a counterclaim in its place.
According to industry sources and court filings, some airlines have struck their arrangements for compensation or repairs to identical surface damage that has been observed across numerous carriers while other airlines continue to operate the jets.
According to Qatar Airways, Airbus conspired with the European Union Aviation Safety Agency to certify the aircraft as safe. In response to a question regarding the assertion, Patrick Ky, the agency’s executive director, told Reuters in an interview: “Of course not.
“In the meantime, Qatar Airways has been accused by Airbus of having a covert role in the Qatar Civil Aviation Authority’s decisions to ground aircraft. This accusation has been refuted by the airline. The QCAA has declined to comment on the situation numerous times.
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