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Airbus holds talks with Qatar Airways to resolve A350 dispute

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Airbus is holding talks with the airline Qatar Airways to try to resolve the dispute over safety regarding the paint erosion problems detected on the A350 aircraft, according to the CEO of the European aeronautical manufacturer, Guillaume Faury.

Speaking to the Reuters agency, Faury points out that “there is progress in relations with the airline, in the sense that we are communicating; we are working with each other”, he said last Sunday in Doha, on the occasion of the IATA Assembly. “I think we share the view that a deal would be a better way forward, but as long as there is no deal, there will be no deal,” he added.

Both sides are at odds over the airworthiness of Europe’s newest long-haul jet after surface erosion exposed gaps in lightning protection and prompted Qatar’s regulator to ground more than 20 planes.

Airbus, backed by European regulators, has acknowledged quality problems in several airlines’ planes, but denies those problems pose a safety risk due to backup systems.

Qatar Airways, supported by its own national regulator, which has ordered the planes out of service, insists the safety impact cannot be properly understood until Airbus provides further analysis.

In an unprecedented court dispute in London,  Qatar Airways is suing Airbus for more than $1 billion in damages, with the value of the airline’s claim increasing by $4 million every day.

“We are in a difficult place, but at Airbus we are really willing to find a way out,” Faury said. “We are in talks and communication has never broken between us and Qatar Airways. I am not suggesting that it will be easy, but we are talking to each other and continue to support Qatar Airways in its operations.”

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