A World Cup Twist To The Airbus-Qatar Row?

Airbus and Qatar are back in court, and some think the World Cup could bring improvements on the political side of this public debate.

Sometimes unrelated social events can turn the most serious conflicts into something a little more carefree. This is something many sides hoped to see, with France advancing to the final of this year’s soccer (or soccer, depending on where you are) World Cup. Several French dignitaries, including President Emmanuel Macron, traveled to Qatar for the final.

Photo: “Rett Lewis”

Coincidentally, Qatar Airways CEO Akbar Al Baker is also the country’s minister of tourism. France is where Airbus’s headquarters and most of its facilities are located. And previous reports suggested that politicians were involved in the story months before the World Cup. Reportedly, the President of France and the minister of Qatar and the CEO of the airline spoke candidly when they met.

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But while the events leading up to Sunday’s final may have looked amicable, the situation was not the same a few thousand miles away on Friday, when Qatar and Airbus met in a UK courtroom. The two sides were discussing a number of details about how the case would proceed next summer. But there was also a new accusation from Airbus alleging that Qatar Airways did not allow it to inspect some A350s with paint problems.

A World Cup Return to the Airbus-Qatar Dispute?

Photo: “Fasyah Halim”

Do You Inspect Planes Before The World Cup?

According to some reports, far from the friendly atmosphere of the World Cup, court hearings have heated up to the point of infuriating the presiding judge. Airbus claimed that its technicians had to remotely photograph some affected aircraft at night when the airline refused to arrange better access.

Image: Qatar Airways

Representatives of Qatar Airways countered, saying it’s a bustling airline and busy thanks to the World Cup. It seems that some of the A350s that Airbus technicians want to see are still in service. Qatar Airways has grounded several A350s with surface wear issues – but apparently not all.

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Perhaps not surprisingly, the legal representatives of Qatar Airways and Airbus were not in a conciliatory mood in court. The trial will be held next June and will consist of two parts. One will focus on the responsibilities of both parties, while the other will handle their claims.

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Earlier, Qatar had asked the court to review it. Cancellation of A321neos separately. He didn’t get his wish granted, but it now appears that he has agreed to split the case, albeit in a different way, due to the large number of disagreements both sides have raised.

From the beginning, the World Cup was strongly featured in Qatar’s arguments, as the airline needed these jets to meet the travel demand brought by this event. But whatever happens on Sunday, hopes that this event will have a more positive role seem to be fading fast.

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