The head of Qatar Airways on Tuesday accused aircraft maker Airbus of acting like a “bully” because their billion-dollar dispute over peeling paint seemed no closer to a solution.
The airline and leading aircraft maker have been fighting in British courts for months over the paint problem that caused Qatar Airways to ground 23 A350 jets.
“Once things are settled, we wouldn’t still be waiting for the trial to take place next year,” Qatar Airways CEO Akbar Al Baker said at the International Air Transport Association’s annual general meeting in Doha.
“A manufacturer should never use its market dominance to bully its regular customer.”
Both sides said they hoped to reach a negotiated settlement after their latest hearing in May, when a London high court judge agreed to an accelerated trial schedule.
Qatar Airways is claiming about $1 billion in damage for the peeling paint, which it says poses a threat to the A350’s lightning rod.
Last year, the airline grounded part of its fleet of A350s and demanded $200,000 a day in damages for every plane that was out of order.
Airbus responded by canceling an order worth more than $6 billion for 50 A321s from Qatar Airways, the Middle East’s second largest airline and one of its largest customers.
When asked for a response to Baker’s comments, Airbus told AFP: “The best solution is a negotiated solution and this is what Airbus is looking for.”
Airbus CEO Guillaume Faury previously told reporters that the French manufacturer was in talks with Qatar Airways “all the time.”
“We have to resolve this situation and it takes time. It takes time and sweat, and I am very frustrated to be in this situation,” he said on Sunday.
“I don’t like being in this situation with customers, that’s very clear, that’s why we’re trying to find a solution for the future. But it’s difficult.”
(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and has been published from a syndicated feed.)