Qatar Airways and Airbus have resolved their legal dispute regarding the paint degradation of the Airbus A350 aircraft. The dispute, which had been ongoing for nearly two years and reached the High Court in London, has come to an amicable settlement. Both parties have released a joint statement regarding the resolution.
“Qatar Airways and Airbus are pleased to have reached an amicable and mutually agreeable settlement in relation to their legal dispute over A350 surface degradation and the grounding of A350 aircraft. A repair project is now underway and both parties look forward to getting these aircraft safely back in the air.“
Repair Project Underway for Affected Aircraft
The statement mentions that a repair project is underway for the affected aircraft and both parties look forward to getting the aircraft back in the air safely. The details of the settlement are confidential and the legal claims will be discontinued by both parties. It is emphasized that the settlement agreement does not imply any admission of liability on either party.
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“The details of the settlement are confidential and the parties will now proceed to discontinue their legal claims. The settlement agreement is not an admission of liability for either party. This agreement will enable Qatar Airways and Airbus to move forward and work together as partners.”
The resolution of the court case will enable Qatar Airways and Airbus to move forward and work together as partners. The end of the legal dispute comes as a relief for both parties, who had suffered reputational damage due to the ongoing court case and questions of influence over regulators. The statement does not mention the reinstatement of canceled aircraft orders, but it is implied that it will happen now that the legal dispute has been resolved.
What about the canceled orders?
The first step in this process will be the reinstatement of the previously canceled orders for airplanes. Back in January 2021, Qatar’s court filing resulted in the cancellation of the airline’s order for 50 Airbus A321neos, which led to the airline turning to Boeing for its narrow-body needs.
In response to the court filing, Airbus also removed outstanding Airbus A350 orders by Qatar from its order books. The reason for this was reportedly due to Qatar’s repeated refusal of deliveries.
Orders Reinstated for 50 A321neos and 23 Airbus A350s
Both Airbus and Qatar have confirmed to Simple Flying that these orders will now be reinstated. This adds a backlog of 50 A321neos and 23 Airbus A350s to the order book and will result in deliveries to the airline beginning again soon.
The resolution of the court case and the reinstatement of the airplane orders marks a positive step forward for both Airbus and Qatar Airways. They can now move ahead as partners and look forward to a bright future.
Qatar Airways and Airbus: Moving Forward as Partners
Despite any current tensions between Airbus and Qatar Airways, the two companies will need to work together to resolve the issue with the Airbus A350 paint degradation. Qatar Airways has 43 of these aircraft in its fleet, with 22 currently grounded by the Qatar Civil Aviation Authority (QCAA) due to damage to the paintwork.
In order for these aircraft to be put back into service, they will need to be repaired, likely at a cost to Airbus. Other operators with less severe paint cracking have already had their aircraft treated, which usually involves repainting the planes.
Confidence Restoration between Qatar Airways and Airbus
To prevent similar issues in the future, Airbus has been installing a new type of copper foil on some of its newly produced aircraft. This modification not only reduces the weight of the aircraft, but also helps to prevent paint cracking.
The resolution of this issue is important for both Airbus and Qatar Airways, and they will need to work together to ensure that the affected A350s are repaired and returned to service. This will help to restore confidence in both companies and ensure a bright future for their partnership.
What do you think about this resolution? Let us know in the comments.
Read the full story: Qatar Airways vs. Airbus: The Ongoing Dispute over A350 Paint Issues
Airbus Unveils New Automated A321XLR Equipping Hangar in Hamburg
Airbus marked a significant step in its journey towards modernization and ramped-up production with the official opening of its new automated A321XLR equipping hangar in Hamburg. The inauguration was graced by Hamburg’s First Mayor Peter Tschentscher, and the German Aerospace Coordinator, Anna Christmann.
Stepping Up Production
Airbus aims to ramp up the production rate for the A320 program to 75 by 2026. This new hangar plays an integral part in achieving that goal, as it would house the production of A321 fuselages. André Walter, Head of Airbus Commercial Aircraft Production in Germany, said, “The design of the building reflects the latest standards in production and sustainability.”
Dr. Peter Tschentscher emphasized Hamburg’s prominence in Airbus’s scheme of things, calling it a central location for Airbus’ single-aisle development and production. The new A321XLR, described as the flagship of the A320 Family, will be assembled at the Finkenwerder site in Hamburg.
Anna Christmann, Federal Government Coordinator of German Aerospace Policy, pointed out that investing in the new hangar is a pivotal move towards achieving climate neutrality in aviation. With Airbus positioning itself as a pioneer in sustainable aviation, it sends a clear message about the future direction of the industry.
Hangar H259: A Peek Inside
The new hangar, labeled H259, spans 9,600 m^2 of production space. It is equipped with advanced technologies, including automated logistics, digital systems, and real-time test stations. Every fuselage section undergoes rigorous testing after system installation and then heads to the final assembly line in Hamburg.
Employee comfort and efficiency were prioritized while planning the hangar. Moreover, sustainability was also at the forefront, with a 3,000 m^2 photovoltaic system powering the hangar and the surplus electricity being used for the site. An automatic control system for heating, ventilation, and lighting, along with the office block’s superior insulation, underlines Airbus’s commitment to sustainability.
Spotlight on the A321XLR
The A321XLR is poised to be a game-changer. This evolution of the A320neo offers an impressive range of up to 4,700 nm, 15% more than its predecessor, the A321LR. The aircraft promises 30% lower fuel consumption per seat than older competitor models. Furthermore, the A321XLR offers enhanced passenger comfort, all while maintaining the low operational costs of a single-aisle aircraft. The A321XLR, with nearly 570 orders globally, is set to make its entry into service in 2024’s second quarter.
Final and Sixth Beluga XL Rolls Out at Airbus
Airbus has rolled out the sixth and last of its Beluga XL freighters at the production facility in Toulouse, France. Based on the A330-200 platform and boasting a special livery, this plane joins a quintet of similar aircraft assisting Airbus in meeting production schedules at its various plants across the globe.
The Final Super Transporter
The concluding Airbus Beluga XL, also known as the ‘super transporter,’ marks the end of a production run consisting of six airplanes. Unlike its five predecessors, each displaying a consistent livery barring their fleet numbers (1-5), the final aircraft showcases a modified external color scheme.
This latest addition features Airbus’ standard house tail colors, logo, and the ‘Airbus Beluga XL’ fuselage titles present on the other five planes. However, it also carries the additional text ‘Also flying outsize cargo to your destination’ and a unique ‘winking eye’ motif on the left side of the forward fuselage.
Currently, the sixth Beluga XL is preparing for its maiden flight, scheduled to occur within a few days. Its entry into service is expected in the latter half of 2023.
The Beluga XL: An Oversized Freight Carrier
Launched officially in November 2014, the Beluga XL program was initiated in response to Airbus’s evolving logistical transport needs. This new generation aircraft, derived from the Airbus A330-200 airliner platform, replaced the previous Beluga ST transporter, whose job was to ferry aircraft components between Airbus factories and assembly plants across Europe.
The Beluga XL had its first flight in July 2018 and entered service in February 2021 with Airbus Transport International (ATI), the logistics division of the European aerospace group.
Before the Beluga STs, Airbus relied on a fleet of four Super Guppies, a turboprop freighter developed by Boeing in the 1960s. However, their limited cargo capability led to their replacement by the Beluga ST, which now gives way to the Beluga XL fleet.
Unmatched Capabilities of the Beluga XL
Being seven meters longer and one meter wider than the Beluga ST, the Beluga XL can boast of a 30% increase in load capacity. Thanks to improved loading systems, the Beluga XL’s turnaround time is approximately one hour, nearly halving that of the Beluga ST.
One of the unique features of the Beluga XL is its large cargo door located above the flight deck, which allows easy loading of whole wings and large sections of fuselage into the enormous cargo compartment. According to Airbus, the Beluga XL can carry two completed wings of the A350 XWB, while the Beluga ST could only manage one.
Read more about the Beluga XL: Airbus Beluga: A Marvel of Engineering and Design
Joining a Busy Worldwide Fleet
Soon, the final Beluga XL will join the ATI fleet, operating between 11 European destinations, gradually replacing the five-member-strong Beluga ST fleet. However, the Beluga ST fleet isn’t retiring yet. They are being phased into another operational division of ATI – Airbus Beluga Transport (AiBT), launched in July 2022.
While AiBT initially focused on missions for other Airbus divisions, it plans to accommodate an increasing number of external commercial customers as the Beluga XLs take over the primary role of transporting commercial airplane components for Airbus. By February 2023, AiBT had already filled nearly 50% of its slots for the rest of the year, catering to many requests for outsized cargo transportation missions worldwide.
Bulgaria Air’s Airbus A220: Latest-Generation Addition to Fleet
Bulgaria Air now proudly hosts the Airbus A220 in its fleet, marking an important step towards greener aviation. The A220’s attributes of operational flexibility, unrivaled comfort, and reduced emissions make it a sought-after choice for airlines working towards more efficient and sustainable aircraft operations. With the addition of Bulgaria Air’s Airbus A220, passengers can now look forward to a state-of-the-art flight experience that has already been enjoyed by over 90 million travelers worldwide.
Bulgaria Air, the national airline of Bulgaria, has received its first A220 aircraft from Airbus’ Mirabel facility in Canada. The A220, which will be leased from Air Lease Corporation, will operate on regional and international routes throughout Europe. Bulgaria Air will lease a total of seven A220s from ALC.
The A220, Airbus’ latest-generation aircraft, will complement Bulgaria Air’s existing fleet of seven A320s. With a range of up to 3,450 nm (6,390 km), the A220 offers increased operational flexibility to airlines like Bulgaria Air.
The initial configuration of Bulgaria Air’s A220 will have a total of 143 seats in dual-class, including eight business-class seats. The A220 is designed for the 100-150 seat market and incorporates advanced aerodynamics, materials, and Pratt & Whitney engines. It provides unbeatable comfort in a small single aisle with the widest windows, largest seats, and overhead stowage, as well as the widest and quietest cabin in its category.
The A220 also supports Bulgaria Air’s commitment to decarbonizing aviation, as it produces up to 25% lower fuel burn and CO2 emissions per seat than previous-generation aircraft and 50% lower NOx emissions than industry standards. Additionally, the aircraft’s noise footprint is reduced by 50% compared to previous-generation aircraft.
Airbus has received nearly 800 orders from 30 customers for the A220, with 265 already delivered. The A220 is currently in service with 16 airlines worldwide, operating on over 1,100 routes and over 375 destinations. Over 90 million passengers have flown on the A220 to date.
Hence, What do you think are the benefits of Bulgaria Air’s addition of the Airbus A220 to its fleet?
Also, you may be interested in reading: The Story of the A220, how it Came About and How it’s Becoming Popular
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