Airbus acknowledges that the A350’s surface decay issues have affected other customers.
Airbus pointed out that the non-structural problem is caused by the different thermal properties of the A350’s multi-component carbon shell, outer coating and copper lightning protection layer, each expanding and contracting at different rates with temperature fluctuations. In Doha, the average temperature in July is 42 degrees Celsius.
In a phone call to reporters on Thursday, Philip Mahon, Airbus’ executive vice president, said Qatar Airways had taken the first step in initiating legal action, which would lead to the application of the dispute settlement rules contained in the sales agreement.
Solutions provided to Qatar Airways from minor paint repairs to re-painting of aircraft if required.
“We are committed to the product,” Mahon said. “We want to re-establish relations with Qatar.”
A Qatar Airways spokesman declined to comment.
Airbus said it was exploring long-term solutions to the surface corrosion problem, including replacing the expanded copper foil with a different material known as perforated copper plate in future aircraft.
The European Aviation Safety Agency backed up Airbus’ defense claims this week, however, after a copper plate disappeared from several points on its wings, releasing a proposed aviation qualification bulletin on another issue related to the A350.
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