The dispute over damage to the A350 jet has become a tug-of-war over classified documents, with Boeing getting involved.
Airbus and Qatar Airways battled in court before Boeing on Friday as a dispute over damage to the A350 plane led to a tug of war over classified documents while their unprecedented total amount at stake rose. up to $1.5 billion.
Boeing was first embroiled in the case as lawyers argued over preliminary contract access for its 737 MAX jets – illustrating a domino effect on the $150 billion global aviation industry. from a rare legal battle in London.
Qatar Airways is suing Airbus in a division of the Supreme Court over damage to painted surfaces and lightning protection systems on A350 jets, said safety could be at stake.
Backed by European regulators, Airbus admits to quality flaws, but insists the jets are safe.
The two sides must provide each other with thousands of pages of documents as their dispute, which has changed the form of the plane-building rivalry, approaches a rare aerospace trial in London in mid-year. 2023, can not solve.
This case sheds light on the inner workings of the jet market, including contract details and industry handbooks in preparation for new jet deliveries.
The number of A350 aircraft grounded by Qatar due to surface damage this week has increased to 28 out of 53 A350s in the country’s fleet.
Last month, Airbus said it was recalling all remaining A350 orders from Qatar Airways.
Both sides raised their stakes again on Friday when they accused each other of pulling each other’s legs over the release of the document. They are also urging the return of tens of millions of dollars in airline deposits and credit payments to the manufacturer.
In a counterclaim in February, Airbus asked Qatar Airways for $220 million in damages and detailed another $185 million in credit for future deliveries that it said had been granted. prepayment of three funds to develop Qatar’s aviation sector as part of the original. The A350 deal in 2007-2009.
Airbus said in a summary of arguments ahead of Friday’s hearing that it was seeking reimbursement and had sought details from the airline about how the money was spent. Qatar Airways did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
People familiar with the case said Qatar Airways strongly argued that the money was invested as anticipated and rejected discussing the funds as a legal move.
For its part, Qatar Airways accused Airbus of trying to get European regulators to “take sides” by controlling what they see.
It copied an internal Airbus email titled “Easy mtg” from the A350’s top engineer asking colleagues to point out to the European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) the heaviest damage, at the same time, adding, “We need to tone down the first impression they will have.”
An Airbus spokesman said this represents a “wart and all” approach. EASA did not respond to a request for comment.
There was also a dispute in court over the access to emails of Qatar Airways senior executive Akbar Al Baker. The airline has been ordered to start searching for relevant documents, in accordance with Qatari law, but has had six weeks to address security concerns about information held on government servers.
With the case attracting a growing pool of lawyers, Boeing also advanced to 19th court on Friday, bringing both aircraft giants to the stage with one of their biggest buyers likely to be for the first time outside the air show where the jet aircraft contracts were announced.
Boeing insists it has no plans to get involved in the escalating dispute between its rival and its customers.
But its emergence comes months after the A350 dispute widened when Airbus revoked its own contract with Qatar for 50 A321neo jets, alleging they were linked by a cross-clause.
Qatar subsequently ordered the Boeing 737 MAX and this led to arguments over the jet’s relative merits going to court, with Airbus unusually saying the MAX was as good as the A321 in an attempt force to avoid being forced to build jets for Qatar.
Accordingly, the airline was ordered to hand over a preliminary version of the MAX contract to Airbus, but Boeing protested on Friday when internal Airbus lawyers looked at the data.
“The disclosure of pricing information… that is a motivator,” Boeing attorney Paul Stanley told the court.