Here's a Reuters article from June that does into more detail of this issue:https://www.reuters.com/world/middle-ea ... 021-06-08/
This all started when one of QR's A350's was sent to a contractor in Ireland for repaint to a special 2022 World Cup livery. It is speculated that when the original paint was removed by the contractor they discovered evidence of exposed metal mesh that is supposed to be underneath the fuselage skin and used for lightning protection. While this may have been a byproduct of bad procedures followed in the paint stripping process by the painting contractor, QR is treating this like a major design flaw of the A350.
Well, if nothing else, the article provides a quote from an official QR spokeperson saying this is not just a paint issue as some continue to suggest:
"Qatar Airways continues to experience and has witnessed a condition in which
the surface below the paint on some of its Airbus A350 aircraft has been degrading at an accelerated rate
," an airline spokesperson said in response to a Reuters query.
The stuff about exposed mesh comes via unnamed sources:
Two industry sources said problems had emerged when the old paint was stripped away, triggering discussions over whether it was a one-off repair problem or evidence of deeper issues.
The plane was then sent to Toulouse, home to both Airbus and facilities of Satys Group, a major paint contractor that handles work for both Airbus and Qatar Airways, industry sources said. It has remained in Toulouse since Jan 5, according to tracking data.
While the jet had been expected to go to Satys, which is repainting other jets for the 2022 tournament, it ended up on the forecourt of Airbus amid a standoff over who was to blame for exposing metal mesh on the aircraft's skin, they said.
It'd be interesting to know more about how they determined these exact planes needed to be grounded.
Presumably all of them were not being repainted as well, no?
I wonder if there is any evidence of exposed mesh on those aircraft.
Since QR already has these aircraft in their possession, I'd assume they were already paid for, so what is Qatar looking for an excuse to not to pay for?
It was my understanding that Qatar recently had a beef with Airbus. In doing so, they would find tiny problems with the A/C and make it seem disastrous so they could refuse new deliveries.
The Reuters article is a bit more delicate on this element of the discussion:
The airline says its exacting standards reflect its premium brand, although aerospace executives have accused it of seizing on such details in the past to delay taking deliveries or gain leverage in other negotiations, a suggestion it has denied.
He said, she said.