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Qatar Airways CEO says Airbus should admit to A350 surface flaws -Breaking


© Reuters. FILEPHOTO: Akbar Al Baker, Qatar Airway’s Chief Operating Officer, speaks at a Qatari aviation conference in Doha on February 5, 2020. REUTERS/Ibraheem al Omari

Kate Holton and Tim Hepher

LONDON/PARIS, (Reuters) – The head of Qatar Airways called Airbus on Tuesday to confess that there were flaws in its A350 aircraft. He also ruled out purchasing freighter planes from Europe. This effectively handed a possible deal to Boeing (NYSE:).

Akbar Al Baker, the Chief Executive of Gulf Airlines confirmed that 20 long-range A350 aircraft had been grounded by the carrier in the midst of a dispute for paint damage and surface wear. This has caused the carrier to stop further deliveries.

Al Baker of the Aviation Club, London stated that while they had acknowledged they were working towards a solution they do not have a solution.

They don’t understand why this is happening and don’t have any solution. It is better to acknowledge a problem than to blame your customer for it.

Reuters published Monday’s report that concerns had been raised by at least five additional airlines about surface defects since A350 was first in service. Some of these surface problems were so severe that the paint could not be protected.

Airbus, which until recently maintained that the problem was confined to Qatar Airways, has said the plane is safe and that it understands the root cause of the problem.

Airbus has not yet commented on Al Baker’s remarks.

Airbus stated in response to Reuters’ queries Monday that they had experienced problems with “early surfaces wear”, which in some cases has made it visible a sublayer of mesh meant to absorb lightning. It is now working on fixing these issues.

Al Baker also was asked about possible purchases of freighter planes, after he stated that Qatar is looking for an “attractive proposal from Boeing”.

He said yes to being asked whether this would make it possible for A350 freighters to be purchased. When asked if there were 50 or more 777X freighters available, he replied that it was possible, although he did not give further details.

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