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zeke
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Re: Qatar Airways has grounded 13 A350’s at the request of the Qatar Aviation regulator

Sat Aug 14, 2021 1:11 am

ElroyJetson wrote:
I just did search and can find to official statement from the EASA. The link to the tweet above is from an aviation reporter. I do not know how credible he is. I found this from Simply Flying, which is a source many find questionable. Take it for what you will. https://simpleflying.com/easa-no-airbus-a350-grounding/


Key Quote: An EASA spokesperson told Simple Flying that the agency has been aware of the Airbus A350 issue being experienced by Qatar Airways since the end of 2020. It has been working with both Airbus and the airline to determine whether there is a risk to the type’s airworthiness.

EASA told Simple Flying,

“Based on the data provided to EASA, there is no indication that the paint and protection degradation affects the structure of the aircraft or introduces other risks, and so EASA is not intending to take any action as State of Design for this issue at this time. No other airlines have reported paint and protection damage.” Despite this, EASA is still paying attention to the issue. A spokesperson informed Simple Flying that the agency has “contacted the Qatari Civil Aviation Authority to determine if the latest action is related to airworthiness issues with the aircraft type or not.” EASA will then evaluate any further information it receives to “ensure continued airworthiness of the A350”.


I don’t like simpleflying as they in my opinion tend to rehash articles published elsewhere.

The same information has been published in a number of other places indicating EASA briefed the media on the issue on August 10. Other places have not indicated a written statement for EASA.

“Even though the Qatar Civil Aviation Authority instructed Qatar Airways to ground 13 Airbus A350 wide-body aircraft due to fuselage surface deterioration issues, the European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) expressed its opposite opinion over the matter. The European regulator reportedly does not intend to take any actions over the potential risks since it has not indicated any paint and protection degradation that could affect the structure of the jet nor introduces “other risks”.

Speaking to media on August 10, 2021, the European regulator outlined that judging by the provided data, none of the reported degradations of the particular 13 Qatar Airways aircraft surface paint and protection could affect the structure of the planes and in this way cause the potential risks. EASA argued that none of the other air carriers have reported any “paint and protection damage” and concluded that it will not “take any action as the State of Design for the issue at this time”.”

From https://www.aerotime.aero/28562-easa-op ... r-A350s%20

Now if you look at what the Qatar CAA have on their website https://www.caa.gov.qa/en-us/News/Pages ... t-job.aspx

In that article on the Qatar CAA website they state

“Qatar Airways has clashed with European planemaker Airbus over the painting of an A350 aircraft in a heated dispute that threatens to delay a resumption of European deliveries to the Gulf carrier”

“The clash over paint quality comes at a sensitive time as Airbus tries to enforce delivery of dozens of jets built for airlines that either cannot or will not take delivery amid a slump in demand because of the coronavirus pandemic.”

“ Al Baker was quoted by Bloomberg earlier on Monday as saying the airline would refuse to take new aircraft from Airbus if it was not able to resolve the dispute.
Last year Al Baker said the airline would not take deliveries of any aircraft in 2020 or 2021 due to the coronavirus crisis. He later said the airline had reached an agreement with Airbus over delays.”

Now that article which is on the Qatar CAA website I find as being bizarre as it not usual for any regularity authority to post news about commercial issues like this. Just to be clear, slump in demand, not taking deliveries, default notices are all commercial terms.
 
Speedy752
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Re: Qatar Airways has grounded 13 A350’s at the request of the Qatar Aviation regulator

Sat Aug 14, 2021 2:18 am

mig17 wrote:
So in the press, Akbar can't get his new 777-X fast enough, but in the real world, while flying half empty 77W, A359/K and 788, he is trying block deliveries of new aircraft with debatable causes ...


Thought that was only Emirates? Aside from these does Qatar have other planes still grounded for demand reasons?
 
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ElroyJetson
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Re: Qatar Airways has grounded 13 A350’s at the request of the Qatar Aviation regulator

Sat Aug 14, 2021 3:20 am

zeke wrote:
ElroyJetson wrote:
I just did search and can find to official statement from the EASA. The link to the tweet above is from an aviation reporter. I do not know how credible he is. I found this from Simply Flying, which is a source many find questionable. Take it for what you will. https://simpleflying.com/easa-no-airbus-a350-grounding/


Key Quote: An EASA spokesperson told Simple Flying that the agency has been aware of the Airbus A350 issue being experienced by Qatar Airways since the end of 2020. It has been working with both Airbus and the airline to determine whether there is a risk to the type’s airworthiness.

EASA told Simple Flying,

“Based on the data provided to EASA, there is no indication that the paint and protection degradation affects the structure of the aircraft or introduces other risks, and so EASA is not intending to take any action as State of Design for this issue at this time. No other airlines have reported paint and protection damage.” Despite this, EASA is still paying attention to the issue. A spokesperson informed Simple Flying that the agency has “contacted the Qatari Civil Aviation Authority to determine if the latest action is related to airworthiness issues with the aircraft type or not.” EASA will then evaluate any further information it receives to “ensure continued airworthiness of the A350”.


I don’t like simpleflying as they in my opinion tend to rehash articles published elsewhere.

The same information has been published in a number of other places indicating EASA briefed the media on the issue on August 10. Other places have not indicated a written statement for EASA.

“Even though the Qatar Civil Aviation Authority instructed Qatar Airways to ground 13 Airbus A350 wide-body aircraft due to fuselage surface deterioration issues, the European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) expressed its opposite opinion over the matter. The European regulator reportedly does not intend to take any actions over the potential risks since it has not indicated any paint and protection degradation that could affect the structure of the jet nor introduces “other risks”.

Speaking to media on August 10, 2021, the European regulator outlined that judging by the provided data, none of the reported degradations of the particular 13 Qatar Airways aircraft surface paint and protection could affect the structure of the planes and in this way cause the potential risks. EASA argued that none of the other air carriers have reported any “paint and protection damage” and concluded that it will not “take any action as the State of Design for the issue at this time”.”

From https://www.aerotime.aero/28562-easa-op ... r-A350s%20

Now if you look at what the Qatar CAA have on their website https://www.caa.gov.qa/en-us/News/Pages ... t-job.aspx

In that article on the Qatar CAA website they state

“Qatar Airways has clashed with European planemaker Airbus over the painting of an A350 aircraft in a heated dispute that threatens to delay a resumption of European deliveries to the Gulf carrier”

“The clash over paint quality comes at a sensitive time as Airbus tries to enforce delivery of dozens of jets built for airlines that either cannot or will not take delivery amid a slump in demand because of the coronavirus pandemic.”

“ Al Baker was quoted by Bloomberg earlier on Monday as saying the airline would refuse to take new aircraft from Airbus if it was not able to resolve the dispute.
Last year Al Baker said the airline would not take deliveries of any aircraft in 2020 or 2021 due to the coronavirus crisis. He later said the airline had reached an agreement with Airbus over delays.”

Now that article which is on the Qatar CAA website I find as being bizarre as it not usual for any regularity authority to post news about commercial issues like this. Just to be clear, slump in demand, not taking deliveries, default notices are all commercial terms.



Thanks for the info. I agree with your assessment of Simply Flying. However, your link, the tweet link from the aviation reporter, and the link I provided from Simply Flying all appear to broadly agree.

In summary, the EASA does not currently have safety concerns regarding the A350, and the skin degradation allegations made by Al Baker and QR have not been experienced by other airlines. My assumption from the beginning was this was not a safety issue, primarily because Airbus and the Irish authorities would have been mandated to report any safety concerns back in November last year. Since no airworthiness directives to my knowledge have been issued except by the Qatari authorities regarding 13 aircraft, I did not think safety was in question. In my opinion the facts point more and more to gamesmanship to delay or defer deliveries versus any issue of safety.
 
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DLHAM
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Re: Qatar Airways has grounded 13 A350’s at the request of the Qatar Aviation regulator

Sat Aug 14, 2021 3:44 am

ElroyJetson wrote:
In my opinion the facts point more and more to gamesmanship to delay or defer deliveries versus any issue of safety.


No its all about the principle. Qatar is buying loads of expensive planes from Airbus which start to have issues that lead to very costly repairs after just a few years and Airbus is not accomodating. I would be p****d as well ... Qatar Airways AFAIK never said its a safety issue.
 
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zeke
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Re: Qatar Airways has grounded 13 A350’s at the request of the Qatar Aviation regulator

Sat Aug 14, 2021 4:29 am

DLHAM wrote:
Qatar Airways AFAIK never said its a safety issue.


That is effectively saying regulators are now grounding aircraft over non safety issues.

What mandate do regulators have for that ?

Who has claimed very costly repairs are required ?

A repaint every 6 years is normal maintenance.

“And, lasting six to eight years, the life­times of the two-coat paint­work are sig­nifi­cantly longer than most other paint systems, which last an aver­age of only five years.”

From https://aeroreport.de/en/aviation/how-a ... re-painted
 
Pelly
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Re: Qatar Airways has grounded 13 A350’s at the request of the Qatar Aviation regulator

Sat Aug 14, 2021 5:06 am

zeke wrote:
Now that article which is on the Qatar CAA website I find as being bizarre as it not usual for any regularity authority to post news about commercial issues like this.


Zeke,

That is true, it is strange for any regulator to post news like this as its not part of its remit, but the Qatai CAA has a generic aviation new section that is an aggregator of other news and I wouldn't read too much about what is posted in that section. The article you posted is from here:

https://www.caa.gov.qa/en-us/News/Pages ... -News.aspx

If you click the link you will see it has all sorts of news almost like a generic aviation news feed, which like you said is bizarre.

The actual Qatar CAA news is in this link and there is no mention, yet, of the Qatar A350.

https://www.caa.gov.qa/en-us/News/Pages/QCAA-News.aspx
 
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Revelation
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Re: Qatar Airways has grounded 13 A350’s at the request of the Qatar Aviation regulator

Sat Aug 14, 2021 2:02 pm

ElroyJetson wrote:
... the agency has “contacted the Qatari Civil Aviation Authority to determine if the latest action is related to airworthiness issues with the aircraft type or not.”

Supports what I wrote earlier that there's lots of different ways/reasons that a regulator can use to ground an aircraft, thus EASA is asking QCAA if the aircraft are grounded due to airworthiness or not.

zeke wrote:
I don’t like simpleflying as they in my opinion tend to rehash articles published elsewhere.

The same information has been published in a number of other places indicating EASA briefed the media on the issue on August 10. Other places have not indicated a written statement for EASA.

Yes, IMO they are a pretty dodgy outfit. Their videos are even worse, mostly made-up controversies to try to get clicks.

When they say "EASA told Simple Flying" they try to make it look like they have an exclusive, but EASA told the same thing to other outlets too, as your post confirms.

zeke wrote:
Now that article which is on the Qatar CAA website I find as being bizarre as it not usual for any regularity authority to post news about commercial issues like this. Just to be clear, slump in demand, not taking deliveries, default notices are all commercial terms.

Yes, it seems they have a news section that just rehashes aviation industry news. I could find very little content on their actions as a regulator.

ElroyJetson wrote:
In summary, the EASA does not currently have safety concerns regarding the A350, and the skin degradation allegations made by Al Baker and QR have not been experienced by other airlines. My assumption from the beginning was this was not a safety issue, primarily because Airbus and the Irish authorities would have been mandated to report any safety concerns back in November last year. Since no airworthiness directives to my knowledge have been issued except by the Qatari authorities regarding 13 aircraft, I did not think safety was in question. In my opinion the facts point more and more to gamesmanship to delay or defer deliveries versus any issue of safety.

There are other possibilities. It could be like the 787 shim issues where there is no immediate safety of flight issue but a long term concern about degradation leading to failure. It's not very likely given that EASA is saying it has not seen evidence of this in other airplanes but we don't know what standard EASA is applying. It is IMO probably some actual but minor issue around CFRP degradation (yes, this does happen) and AAB doesn't want to pay for repairs so he's making it into a major issue.

DLHAM wrote:
Qatar Airways AFAIK never said its a safety issue.

Agree. AAB has said it had commercial implications, has not said it has safety implications, has said QCAA requested QR ground the planes but gave no reason why QCAA made that request.
 
RoyalBrunei757
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Re: Qatar Airways has grounded 13 A350’s at the request of the Qatar Aviation regulator

Tue Aug 17, 2021 7:39 am

Saw on skyliner-aviation.de two A330-202s have returned to Doha, looks like they are returning from earlier lease return. MSN 760 A7-ACJ and MSN 820 A7-ACL. Possibly to cover capacity shortfall from A350 grounding?
 
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3rdGen
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Re: Qatar Airways has grounded 13 A350’s at the request of the Qatar Aviation regulator

Tue Aug 17, 2021 9:02 am

This was NEVER a safety issue. Qatar grounded the planes to make a statement and scare Airbus into fixing the issue on their own dime. However, the whole thing may seriously backfire on them given the costs involved in reactivating the A330. Especially if Airbus refuse to pay for any repairs, or whatever is needed to fix these aircraft.
 
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Revelation
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Re: Qatar Airways has grounded 13 A350’s at the request of the Qatar Aviation regulator

Tue Aug 17, 2021 2:28 pm

3rdGen wrote:
This was NEVER a safety issue.

I don't think anyone including AAB said it was a safety issue. Grounding of course creates an impression but that's really up to us to decide what it actually means.

3rdGen wrote:
Qatar grounded the planes to make a statement and scare Airbus into fixing the issue on their own dime. However, the whole thing may seriously backfire on them given the costs involved in reactivating the A330. Especially if Airbus refuse to pay for any repairs, or whatever is needed to fix these aircraft.

Or it may seriously work since fixing CFRP surface issues gets costly quick. There's a reason why most gliders get put in the box every night, most Cirrus get put into hangars etc.
 
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FiscAutTecGarte
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Re: Qatar Airways has grounded 13 A350’s at the request of the Qatar Aviation regulator

Tue Aug 17, 2021 3:53 pm

Does it cost more to repair/paint those 13 A350s than it does to pull A330s out of storage and reactivate them to cover the pax volume?
 
sxf24
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Re: Qatar Airways has grounded 13 A350’s at the request of the Qatar Aviation regulator

Tue Aug 17, 2021 4:12 pm

3rdGen wrote:
This was NEVER a safety issue. Qatar grounded the planes to make a statement and scare Airbus into fixing the issue on their own dime. However, the whole thing may seriously backfire on them given the costs involved in reactivating the A330. Especially if Airbus refuse to pay for any repairs, or whatever is needed to fix these aircraft.


While there may not be an immediate safety issue, leaving deficiencies uncorrected can lead to safety problems.
 
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Thunderboltdrgn
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Re: Qatar Airways has grounded 13 A350’s at the request of the Qatar Aviation regulator

Wed Aug 18, 2021 2:17 pm

A7-ANA (A350-1000) flew into LHR as QR3 today. So are the A350 "ungrounded" now?

https://www.flightradar24.com/data/aircraft/a7-ana
 
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Revelation
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Re: Qatar Airways has grounded 13 A350’s at the request of the Qatar Aviation regulator

Wed Aug 18, 2021 2:33 pm

Thunderboltdrgn wrote:
A7-ANA (A350-1000) flew into LHR as QR3 today. So are the A350 "ungrounded" now?

https://www.flightradar24.com/data/aircraft/a7-ana

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Qatar_Air ... rent_fleet says QR has 34 -900s and 19 -1000s yet the thread title says 13 are grounded, so there are many non-grounded A350s still available for operations.
 
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Thunderboltdrgn
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Re: Qatar Airways has grounded 13 A350’s at the request of the Qatar Aviation regulator

Wed Aug 18, 2021 2:40 pm

Revelation wrote:
Thunderboltdrgn wrote:
A7-ANA (A350-1000) flew into LHR as QR3 today. So are the A350 "ungrounded" now?

https://www.flightradar24.com/data/aircraft/a7-ana

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Qatar_Air ... rent_fleet says QR has 34 -900s and 19 -1000s yet the thread title says 13 are grounded, so there are many non-grounded A350s still available for operations.


Yeah makes sense (or not) I guess.
 
2175301
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Re: Qatar Airways has grounded 13 A350’s at the request of the Qatar Aviation regulator

Wed Aug 18, 2021 4:40 pm

If only 13 out of 53 A350's are grounded.... Sounds like some kind of production lot issue.
 
Daysleeper
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Re: Qatar Airways has grounded 13 A350’s at the request of the Qatar Aviation regulator

Sat Aug 21, 2021 12:55 pm

I have been doing a little reading regarding this apparent issue and I am wondering if this may simply be materials science and how they behave when exposed to various temperatures gradients. I know many have highlighted the particular extremes of temperature that exist in Quatar and how it may be related but I have not seen anyone posting specific details – So I apologise if this has already been covered.

But Here is a datasheet relating to the thermal expansion of carbon composites. It is quite technical in detail but the primary point is how this differs from This, the same information regarding copper, which I believe is the material used in the conductive mesh on the A350.

This leaves me wondering if it is these differences in behaviour that is leading to mesh becoming visible on the surface as with copper expanding much more than the carbon it is incased within its feasible that it or a witness mark of where it had previously expanded and then contracted could become visible on the surface. This would also explain why EASA does not consider this to be a safety issue, the copper mesh is applied within the outer most layers of the carbon and does not play any structural role within it. It also would not affect the coppers mesh’s ability to act as a faraday cage in the event of a lightening strike so in that sense it’s very much a non-issue.

So I guess there is good and bad news. The good is that I suspect this isn’t a “degradation” so to speak and it should have no effect on either the safety or longevity of the airframe. The bad would be that I am not sure how they could go about fixing this issue, and I have no doubt its unsightly to see on an almost new aircraft.

Again I apologise if this has already been covered, but if so I had missed it and find this at least a plausible explanation.
 
MIflyer12
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Re: Qatar Airways has grounded 13 A350’s at the request of the Qatar Aviation regulator

Sat Aug 21, 2021 2:14 pm

2175301 wrote:
If only 13 out of 53 A350's are grounded.... Sounds like some kind of production lot issue.


It could be. It could also be that 13 are grounded for show, and Qatar knows they can't ground all 53 and have a viable airline.
 
sxf24
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Re: Qatar Airways has grounded 13 A350’s at the request of the Qatar Aviation regulator

Sat Aug 21, 2021 2:41 pm

Daysleeper wrote:
I have been doing a little reading regarding this apparent issue and I am wondering if this may simply be materials science and how they behave when exposed to various temperatures gradients. I know many have highlighted the particular extremes of temperature that exist in Quatar and how it may be related but I have not seen anyone posting specific details – So I apologise if this has already been covered.

But Here is a datasheet relating to the thermal expansion of carbon composites. It is quite technical in detail but the primary point is how this differs from This, the same information regarding copper, which I believe is the material used in the conductive mesh on the A350.

This leaves me wondering if it is these differences in behaviour that is leading to mesh becoming visible on the surface as with copper expanding much more than the carbon it is incased within its feasible that it or a witness mark of where it had previously expanded and then contracted could become visible on the surface. This would also explain why EASA does not consider this to be a safety issue, the copper mesh is applied within the outer most layers of the carbon and does not play any structural role within it. It also would not affect the coppers mesh’s ability to act as a faraday cage in the event of a lightening strike so in that sense it’s very much a non-issue.

So I guess there is good and bad news. The good is that I suspect this isn’t a “degradation” so to speak and it should have no effect on either the safety or longevity of the airframe. The bad would be that I am not sure how they could go about fixing this issue, and I have no doubt its unsightly to see on an almost new aircraft.

Again I apologise if this has already been covered, but if so I had missed it and find this at least a plausible explanation.


This is an excellent summary consistent on what I’ve been hearing.

Wouldn’t exposed copper mesh have a detrimental impact on fuel efficiency with increased drag and potential for corrosion?
 
Daysleeper
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Re: Qatar Airways has grounded 13 A350’s at the request of the Qatar Aviation regulator

Sat Aug 21, 2021 2:51 pm

sxf24 wrote:

This is an excellent summary consistent on what I’ve been hearing.

Wouldn’t exposed copper mesh have a detrimental impact on fuel efficiency with increased drag and potential for corrosion?


Perhaps….but we are talking microscopic detail here, performance difference is going to be negligible in a worst case scenario and perhaps not even detectable. It would also be entirely insignificant when compared to the weight savings allowed by the use of carbon composites.

And thank you, I’ve been thinking this for quite some time but had not put the effort into actually researching it unit now.
 
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Thunderboltdrgn
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Re: Qatar Airways has grounded 13 A350’s at the request of the Qatar Aviation regulator

Sat Aug 21, 2021 3:29 pm

2175301 wrote:
If only 13 out of 53 A350's are grounded.... Sounds like some kind of production lot issue.


According to Airfleets.net these are the grounded aircrafts https://www.airfleets.net/flottecie/Qat ... e-a350.htm

MSN    Type       reg          delivery            status
006    350-941    A7-ALA    22/12/2014    Parked since 06/2021
007    350-941    A7-ALB    05/03/2015    Parked since 06/2021    
008    350-941    A7-ALE    30/10/2015    Parked since 06/2021    
009    350-941    A7-ALC    07/05/2015    Parked since 06/2021    
010    350-941    A7-ALD    14/06/2015    Parked since 04/2021    
011    350-941    A7-ALF    30/10/2015    Parked since 06/2021
013    350-941    A7-ALG    21/11/2015    Parked since 06/2021
036    350-941    A7-ALL    01/11/2016    Parked since 01/2021
090    350-941    A7-ALT    24/11/2017    Parked since 06/2021
102    350-1041   A7-ANB    30/06/2018    Parked since 05/2021    
106    350-941    A7-ALV    29/05/2018    Parked since 04/2021    
110    350-1041   A7-ANC    10/09/2018    Parked since 06/2021    
114    350-941    A7-ALW    20/06/2018    Parked since 05/2021


About half of them are very close and early in the production line but the other half are more spread out.
 
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3rdGen
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Re: Qatar Airways has grounded 13 A350’s at the request of the Qatar Aviation regulator

Sat Aug 21, 2021 4:41 pm

If anyone has data of who painted these aircraft it might shed some more light on the issue. A rumor that I have heard is that the issue is with the third-party vendor that painted the aircraft. These composite aircraft require special coatings between the CFRP surface and the paint, and the vendor that painted these aircraft messed up. As the vendor was approved by Airbus, Qatar are basically in a spat about who is now going to pay to repaint the aircraft. Basically Airbus and QR know what the issue is, they know what needs to be done, its just a question of who is going to pay for it
 
LDRA
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Re: Qatar Airways has grounded 13 A350’s at the request of the Qatar Aviation regulator

Sat Aug 21, 2021 8:54 pm

3rdGen wrote:
If anyone has data of who painted these aircraft it might shed some more light on the issue. A rumor that I have heard is that the issue is with the third-party vendor that painted the aircraft. These composite aircraft require special coatings between the CFRP surface and the paint, and the vendor that painted these aircraft messed up. As the vendor was approved by Airbus, Qatar are basically in a spat about who is now going to pay to repaint the aircraft. Basically Airbus and QR know what the issue is, they know what needs to be done, its just a question of who is going to pay for it


Isn't that obvious? The vendor who did the painting
 
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Revelation
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Re: Qatar Airways has grounded 13 A350’s at the request of the Qatar Aviation regulator

Sat Aug 21, 2021 11:14 pm

LDRA wrote:
3rdGen wrote:
If anyone has data of who painted these aircraft it might shed some more light on the issue. A rumor that I have heard is that the issue is with the third-party vendor that painted the aircraft. These composite aircraft require special coatings between the CFRP surface and the paint, and the vendor that painted these aircraft messed up. As the vendor was approved by Airbus, Qatar are basically in a spat about who is now going to pay to repaint the aircraft. Basically Airbus and QR know what the issue is, they know what needs to be done, its just a question of who is going to pay for it

Isn't that obvious? The vendor who did the painting

If you trust Simple Flying reports ( https://simpleflying.com/qatar-airways- ... -grounded/ ) the first was done at "IAC paint shop" in Shannon, Ireland ( https://iac.aero/iac_locations/shannon-ireland/ ).

Second source confirms the location and provides an Airbus statement:
In a statement released by Airbus regarding the aircraft, it said “Whilst undergoing a repaint at Shannon, Qatar Airways’ Airbus A350-900 aircraft was observed to have some irregularities on the surface coating. The issue is superficial/cosmetic and only visible when the top coat of paint is stripped. It is not a structural composite issue! In agreement with Qatar Airways the aircraft will be flown to Toulouse for further inspection, as a precaution, and re-painting. There is no safety concern.”

Ref: https://flyinginireland.com/2021/01/irr ... n-shannon/

Airbus has gone silent since then, but clearly they would know if it was a structural issue and they say it isn't.

If it was a cosmetic issue it still could be costly to rectify which of course could be a point of contention.
 
JohanTally
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Re: Qatar Airways has grounded 13 A350’s at the request of the Qatar Aviation regulator

Fri Oct 01, 2021 12:56 am

QR plans to return 5 A380s to service in November also leaving door open for activating all 10. They reference their ongoing issues with the A350 as factor in this decision.

https://airlinegeeks.com/2021/09/29/qat ... 50-issues/
 
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Revelation
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Re: Qatar Airways has grounded 13 A350’s at the request of the Qatar Aviation regulator

Tue Oct 05, 2021 2:26 pm

Interesting update via Bloomberg ( https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles ... f=BLGg9KM9 ) where AAB says:

“It is a problem with the paint that has led to us getting deterioration on the lightning protection of the fuselage and cracks appearing on the composite,” Al Baker said in an interview at an airline industry summit in Boston. The paint is not deteriorating on metal areas of the aircraft, and only where there is “aerodynamic stress,” he said.

He emphasizes they still aren't taking any new A350s till there is a resolution to the situation.

I think "on the composite" is significant, it means they are surface-level cracks as opposed to cracks through the material. This means they are a potential future problem because water can get into cracks and cause the damage to spread, but beyond that aren't particularly a problem.

Airbus's position hasn't changed. Apparently EASA went to Qatar and inspected the grounded A350s, something I don't think we knew already.

A “thorough assessment” of the paint problem was shared with the European Union Aviation Safety Agency for evaluation, Airbus said in a follow-up email. “It was demonstrated that there is no airworthiness impact on the fleet, allowing for continued operations.”

In a separate statement, EASA said it visited the Qatar Civil Aviation Authority and viewed some of the affected planes in September.

Despite the degraded paint condition, EASA has not at this time identified any airworthiness concerns with the A350 due to the paint deterioration, including the composite structure and the lightning protection of the aircraft,” the European agency said.

Airbus has provided additional guidelines to A350 operators on stripping and painting the aircraft, and no additional inspections are required beyond normal scheduled maintenance, it said.

Oh well, at least EASA is willing to say there is a "degraded paint condition"...

Presumably all the grounded airplanes had not been stripped for repainting already so I'm not sure this can all be blamed on the paint shop.
 
2175301
Posts: 2239
Joined: Wed May 16, 2007 11:19 am

Re: Qatar Airways has grounded 13 A350’s at the request of the Qatar Aviation regulator

Tue Oct 05, 2021 3:46 pm

Revelation wrote:
Interesting update via Bloomberg ( https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles ... f=BLGg9KM9 ) where AAB says:

“It is a problem with the paint that has led to us getting deterioration on the lightning protection of the fuselage and cracks appearing on the composite,” Al Baker said in an interview at an airline industry summit in Boston. The paint is not deteriorating on metal areas of the aircraft, and only where there is “aerodynamic stress,” he said.

He emphasizes they still aren't taking any new A350s till there is a resolution to the situation.

I think "on the composite" is significant, it means they are surface-level cracks as opposed to cracks through the material. This means they are a potential future problem because water can get into cracks and cause the damage to spread, but beyond that aren't particularly a problem.

Airbus's position hasn't changed. Apparently EASA went to Qatar and inspected the grounded A350s, something I don't think we knew already.

A “thorough assessment” of the paint problem was shared with the European Union Aviation Safety Agency for evaluation, Airbus said in a follow-up email. “It was demonstrated that there is no airworthiness impact on the fleet, allowing for continued operations.”

In a separate statement, EASA said it visited the Qatar Civil Aviation Authority and viewed some of the affected planes in September.

Despite the degraded paint condition, EASA has not at this time identified any airworthiness concerns with the A350 due to the paint deterioration, including the composite structure and the lightning protection of the aircraft,” the European agency said.

Airbus has provided additional guidelines to A350 operators on stripping and painting the aircraft, and no additional inspections are required beyond normal scheduled maintenance, it said.

Oh well, at least EASA is willing to say there is a "degraded paint condition"...

Presumably all the grounded airplanes had not been stripped for repainting already so I'm not sure this can all be blamed on the paint shop.


This sounds like there is a real unknown about the future life of the affected panels. Initially, it does not seem to be a short term issue; but, it may well be a long term issue.

A reality is that it may take decades to know how this degradation is going to affect the panels and grounding grid.

I also note that I have not heard of a similar surface degradation on the B787. Perhaps I missed something,

Have a great day,
 
Pelly
Posts: 102
Joined: Tue Jun 14, 2016 8:13 pm

Re: Qatar Airways has grounded 13 A350’s at the request of the Qatar Aviation regulator

Tue Oct 05, 2021 3:57 pm

Revelation wrote:
Interesting update via Bloomberg ( https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles ... f=BLGg9KM9 ) where AAB says:

“It is a problem with the paint that has led to us getting deterioration on the lightning protection of the fuselage and cracks appearing on the composite,” Al Baker said in an interview at an airline industry summit in Boston. The paint is not deteriorating on metal areas of the aircraft, and only where there is “aerodynamic stress,” he said.

He emphasizes they still aren't taking any new A350s till there is a resolution to the situation.

I think "on the composite" is significant, it means they are surface-level cracks as opposed to cracks through the material. This means they are a potential future problem because water can get into cracks and cause the damage to spread, but beyond that aren't particularly a problem.

Airbus's position hasn't changed. Apparently EASA went to Qatar and inspected the grounded A350s, something I don't think we knew already.

A “thorough assessment” of the paint problem was shared with the European Union Aviation Safety Agency for evaluation, Airbus said in a follow-up email. “It was demonstrated that there is no airworthiness impact on the fleet, allowing for continued operations.”

In a separate statement, EASA said it visited the Qatar Civil Aviation Authority and viewed some of the affected planes in September.

Despite the degraded paint condition, EASA has not at this time identified any airworthiness concerns with the A350 due to the paint deterioration, including the composite structure and the lightning protection of the aircraft,” the European agency said.

Airbus has provided additional guidelines to A350 operators on stripping and painting the aircraft, and no additional inspections are required beyond normal scheduled maintenance, it said.

Oh well, at least EASA is willing to say there is a "degraded paint condition"...

Presumably all the grounded airplanes had not been stripped for repainting already so I'm not sure this can all be blamed on the paint shop.



You are the closest to understanding both positions. Some think that if an issue doesn't affect airworthiness then it is not issue without considering what the costs are even if cosmetic. Consider a business class seat that cosmetically wears down too quickly and gets scuffs quickly, it could be safe and airworthy but could get costly and potentially cost lost revenue. Another thing that people also need to consider is just because something is not an airworthiness issue today, it doesn't mean it won't be in the future. Sometimes minor things could be an indication of something more significant later. Think of the PW GTF on the NEO and how the issue got worst for a while before starting to get better.

QR is very conservative in these aspects and I can understand their position and also I can understand Airbus' position until there are more aircraft affected or until the situation becomes worse. It is worth following this issue and seeing how it develops.
 
JayinKitsap
Posts: 2681
Joined: Sat Nov 26, 2005 9:55 am

Re: Qatar Airways has grounded 13 A350’s at the request of the Qatar Aviation regulator

Tue Oct 05, 2021 6:15 pm

2175301 wrote:
Revelation wrote:
Interesting update via Bloomberg ( https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles ... f=BLGg9KM9 ) where AAB says:

“It is a problem with the paint that has led to us getting deterioration on the lightning protection of the fuselage and cracks appearing on the composite,” Al Baker said in an interview at an airline industry summit in Boston. The paint is not deteriorating on metal areas of the aircraft, and only where there is “aerodynamic stress,” he said.

He emphasizes they still aren't taking any new A350s till there is a resolution to the situation.

I think "on the composite" is significant, it means they are surface-level cracks as opposed to cracks through the material. This means they are a potential future problem because water can get into cracks and cause the damage to spread, but beyond that aren't particularly a problem.

Airbus's position hasn't changed. Apparently EASA went to Qatar and inspected the grounded A350s, something I don't think we knew already.

A “thorough assessment” of the paint problem was shared with the European Union Aviation Safety Agency for evaluation, Airbus said in a follow-up email. “It was demonstrated that there is no airworthiness impact on the fleet, allowing for continued operations.”

In a separate statement, EASA said it visited the Qatar Civil Aviation Authority and viewed some of the affected planes in September.

Despite the degraded paint condition, EASA has not at this time identified any airworthiness concerns with the A350 due to the paint deterioration, including the composite structure and the lightning protection of the aircraft,” the European agency said.

Airbus has provided additional guidelines to A350 operators on stripping and painting the aircraft, and no additional inspections are required beyond normal scheduled maintenance, it said.

Oh well, at least EASA is willing to say there is a "degraded paint condition"...

Presumably all the grounded airplanes had not been stripped for repainting already so I'm not sure this can all be blamed on the paint shop.


This sounds like there is a real unknown about the future life of the affected panels. Initially, it does not seem to be a short term issue; but, it may well be a long term issue.

A reality is that it may take decades to know how this degradation is going to affect the panels and grounding grid.

I also note that I have not heard of a similar surface degradation on the B787. Perhaps I missed something,

Have a great day,


The resin modulus E is quite low, about half that of wood, some resins act soft but others act brittle. Glass fiber E is over 10x the resin, and Carbon is stiffer than steel. So in the thermal cycles the resin expands and contracts a lot, but not the fibers causing lots of little craze cracks. Technically, this has little effect structurally but yes water can intrude, which is quite bad due to freeze thaw. However, the paint system properly seals the surface.

The 787 probably uses a different resin, it could be less brittle, so it doesn't craze crack.

Qatar is very hot with intense sun, but they selected a dark paint increasing the solar heating, the paint may also not be dark in the infrared and UV, allowing resin damage as the paint isn't fully blocking. This dark color at this hot location is probably the worst conditions seen by the A350, the hot surface gets dropped into the freezer of FL30 in a very short time.
 
Opus99
Posts: 2691
Joined: Thu May 30, 2019 10:51 pm

Re: Qatar Airways has grounded 13 A350’s at the request of the Qatar Aviation regulator

Tue Oct 05, 2021 6:32 pm

My two cents on this is the heat in the Middle East. I did not understand how bad it gets in the summer because I’ve never been there in the summer until I connected through Doha this summer and we had to use a remote gate. It is unbearably hot in the Middle East during the summer, I can imagine how that heat can affect the surface of aircraft. Especially when you’re in that heat constantly mixed with the dust as well.

The thing is, airbus can’t argue none of our other customers are complaining. Well none of your other 350 customers operate in those conditions.

I have also noticed the grounded aircrafts have moved from 13 to 16.
 
majano
Posts: 371
Joined: Sun Oct 14, 2018 10:45 am

Re: Qatar Airways has grounded 13 A350’s at the request of the Qatar Aviation regulator

Tue Oct 05, 2021 7:01 pm

Revelation wrote:
Interesting update via Bloomberg ( https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles ... f=BLGg9KM9 ) where AAB says:

“It is a problem with the paint that has led to us getting deterioration on the lightning protection of the fuselage and cracks appearing on the composite,” Al Baker said in an interview at an airline industry summit in Boston. The paint is not deteriorating on metal areas of the aircraft, and only where there is “aerodynamic stress,” he said.

He emphasizes they still aren't taking any new A350s till there is a resolution to the situation.

I think "on the composite" is significant, it means they are surface-level cracks as opposed to cracks through the material. This means they are a potential future problem because water can get into cracks and cause the damage to spread, but beyond that aren't particularly a problem.

Airbus's position hasn't changed. Apparently EASA went to Qatar and inspected the grounded A350s, something I don't think we knew already.

A “thorough assessment” of the paint problem was shared with the European Union Aviation Safety Agency for evaluation, Airbus said in a follow-up email. “It was demonstrated that there is no airworthiness impact on the fleet, allowing for continued operations.”

In a separate statement, EASA said it visited the Qatar Civil Aviation Authority and viewed some of the affected planes in September.

Despite the degraded paint condition, EASA has not at this time identified any airworthiness concerns with the A350 due to the paint deterioration, including the composite structure and the lightning protection of the aircraft,” the European agency said.

Airbus has provided additional guidelines to A350 operators on stripping and painting the aircraft, and no additional inspections are required beyond normal scheduled maintenance, it said.

Oh well, at least EASA is willing to say there is a "degraded paint condition"...

Presumably all the grounded airplanes had not been stripped for repainting already so I'm not sure this can all be blamed on the paint shop.

So it is a paint issue after all
 
sxf24
Posts: 1354
Joined: Wed Aug 15, 2007 12:22 pm

Re: Qatar Airways has grounded 13 A350’s at the request of the Qatar Aviation regulator

Tue Oct 05, 2021 7:59 pm

Opus99 wrote:
My two cents on this is the heat in the Middle East. I did not understand how bad it gets in the summer because I’ve never been there in the summer until I connected through Doha this summer and we had to use a remote gate. It is unbearably hot in the Middle East during the summer, I can imagine how that heat can affect the surface of aircraft. Especially when you’re in that heat constantly mixed with the dust as well.

The thing is, airbus can’t argue none of our other customers are complaining. Well none of your other 350 customers operate in those conditions.

I have also noticed the grounded aircrafts have moved from 13 to 16.


EK, EY, and ET all have hubs with harsh conditions and most A350 operators serve destinations in the Middle East.

If NZ can fly a black painted 787, a gray painted A350 should hold up in harsher conditions.
 
Opus99
Posts: 2691
Joined: Thu May 30, 2019 10:51 pm

Re: Qatar Airways has grounded 13 A350’s at the request of the Qatar Aviation regulator

Tue Oct 05, 2021 8:02 pm

sxf24 wrote:
Opus99 wrote:
My two cents on this is the heat in the Middle East. I did not understand how bad it gets in the summer because I’ve never been there in the summer until I connected through Doha this summer and we had to use a remote gate. It is unbearably hot in the Middle East during the summer, I can imagine how that heat can affect the surface of aircraft. Especially when you’re in that heat constantly mixed with the dust as well.

The thing is, airbus can’t argue none of our other customers are complaining. Well none of your other 350 customers operate in those conditions.

I have also noticed the grounded aircrafts have moved from 13 to 16.


EK, EY, and ET all have hubs with harsh conditions and most A350 operators serve destinations in the Middle East.

If NZ can fly a black painted 787, a gray painted A350 should hold up in harsher conditions.

Well, yeah a frame might visit Dubai once a week and stay for two hours?

Different level of exposure

An a350 SHOULD hold up but it looks like it isn’t
 
User avatar
zeke
Posts: 16439
Joined: Thu Dec 14, 2006 1:42 pm

Re: Qatar Airways has grounded 13 A350’s at the request of the Qatar Aviation regulator

Tue Oct 05, 2021 8:14 pm

Revelation wrote:
Oh well, at least EASA is willing to say there is a "degraded paint condition"...

Presumably all the grounded airplanes had not been stripped for repainting already so I'm not sure this can all be blamed on the paint shop.


A degraded paint condition after being in service is totally normal. Airliners are usually stripped and painted every 5 to 6 years depending on their maintenance schedule. Have a look at when most of these aircraft were delivered, 6 years ago.

Maintenance tasks are part of the aircraft continuing airworthiness, its up to the operator to maintain their aircraft, not the manufacturer.
 
Opus99
Posts: 2691
Joined: Thu May 30, 2019 10:51 pm

Re: Qatar Airways has grounded 13 A350’s at the request of the Qatar Aviation regulator

Tue Oct 05, 2021 8:48 pm

zeke wrote:
Revelation wrote:
Oh well, at least EASA is willing to say there is a "degraded paint condition"...

Presumably all the grounded airplanes had not been stripped for repainting already so I'm not sure this can all be blamed on the paint shop.


A degraded paint condition after being in service is totally normal. Airliners are usually stripped and painted every 5 to 6 years depending on their maintenance schedule. Have a look at when most of these aircraft were delivered, 6 years ago.

Maintenance tasks are part of the aircraft continuing airworthiness, its up to the operator to maintain their aircraft, not the manufacturer.

So does the a350 in those conditions need more paint/skin maintenance than other aircraft?
 
User avatar
Polot
Posts: 12403
Joined: Thu Jul 28, 2011 3:01 pm

Re: Qatar Airways has grounded 13 A350’s at the request of the Qatar Aviation regulator

Tue Oct 05, 2021 9:08 pm

sxf24 wrote:
Opus99 wrote:
My two cents on this is the heat in the Middle East. I did not understand how bad it gets in the summer because I’ve never been there in the summer until I connected through Doha this summer and we had to use a remote gate. It is unbearably hot in the Middle East during the summer, I can imagine how that heat can affect the surface of aircraft. Especially when you’re in that heat constantly mixed with the dust as well.

The thing is, airbus can’t argue none of our other customers are complaining. Well none of your other 350 customers operate in those conditions.

I have also noticed the grounded aircrafts have moved from 13 to 16.


EK, EY, and ET all have hubs with harsh conditions and most A350 operators serve destinations in the Middle East.

If NZ can fly a black painted 787, a gray painted A350 should hold up in harsher conditions.

EK and EY do not have A350s (in service). Addis Ababa’s climate is nothing like the Middle East’s.

The fact that a plane’s paint should hold up better in a harsher environment compared to an all black plane of a completely different type doesn’t mean it does. The issue, if there is one, is probably completely unrelated to the composites, but rather the coating/treatment/primer Airbus uses and how it interacts with QR’s paint formula or climate.
 
User avatar
ElroyJetson
Posts: 1033
Joined: Fri May 26, 2017 5:04 am

Re: Qatar Airways has grounded 13 A350’s at the request of the Qatar Aviation regulator

Wed Oct 06, 2021 1:29 am

Hard to say what's really going on but it sounds like the paint on QR's A 350's is degrading faster than they would like and it appears they think Airbus should pay for it. Is this just a normal maintenance issue or is it something more? At this point after almost a year I have no idea, but I am always skeptical where Al Baker is concerned.
 
TC957
Posts: 4176
Joined: Wed May 23, 2012 1:12 pm

Re: Qatar Airways has grounded 13 A350’s at the request of the Qatar Aviation regulator

Wed Oct 06, 2021 7:22 am

Does Royal Jordanian have issues with their fleet ? They have an even darker colour scheme and Amman is just as hot in summer.
 
jeffrey0032j
Posts: 1081
Joined: Wed Jun 15, 2016 3:11 pm

Re: Qatar Airways has grounded 13 A350’s at the request of the Qatar Aviation regulator

Wed Oct 06, 2021 8:59 am

TC957 wrote:
Does Royal Jordanian have issues with their fleet ? They have an even darker colour scheme and Amman is just as hot in summer.

They don't have the 350, and 787s have lasted longer in service (including at QR) without any complaints or issues raised by airlines or regulators regarding fuselage degradation or cracks.
 
User avatar
zeke
Posts: 16439
Joined: Thu Dec 14, 2006 1:42 pm

Re: Qatar Airways has grounded 13 A350’s at the request of the Qatar Aviation regulator

Wed Oct 06, 2021 10:57 am

Opus99 wrote:
So does the a350 in those conditions need more paint/skin maintenance than other aircraft?


Not that I am aware of, and if we look back how this was discovered it was during a normal repaint.
 
JohanTally
Posts: 454
Joined: Tue Jun 18, 2019 3:44 am

Re: Qatar Airways has grounded 13 A350’s at the request of the Qatar Aviation regulator

Wed Oct 06, 2021 11:43 am

zeke wrote:
Opus99 wrote:
So does the a350 in those conditions need more paint/skin maintenance than other aircraft?


Not that I am aware of, and if we look back how this was discovered it was during a normal repaint.

Do we know what area of the A350 this is happening? It references high aerodynamic load areas would that be near control surfaces or leading edges of fuselage?
 
User avatar
Polot
Posts: 12403
Joined: Thu Jul 28, 2011 3:01 pm

Re: Qatar Airways has grounded 13 A350’s at the request of the Qatar Aviation regulator

Wed Oct 06, 2021 11:47 am

JohanTally wrote:
zeke wrote:
Opus99 wrote:
So does the a350 in those conditions need more paint/skin maintenance than other aircraft?


Not that I am aware of, and if we look back how this was discovered it was during a normal repaint.

Do we know what area of the A350 this is happening? It references high aerodynamic load areas would that be near control surfaces or leading edges of fuselage?


Iirc in the initial aircraft it was mostly around the stabilizers. Don’t know if that is the case for the other 12-15 grounded planes.
 
User avatar
Revelation
Posts: 26997
Joined: Wed Feb 09, 2005 9:37 pm

Re: Qatar Airways has grounded 13 A350’s at the request of the Qatar Aviation regulator

Fri Oct 08, 2021 3:51 pm

ElroyJetson wrote:
Hard to say what's really going on but it sounds like the paint on QR's A 350's is degrading faster than they would like and it appears they think Airbus should pay for it. Is this just a normal maintenance issue or is it something more? At this point after almost a year I have no idea, but I am always skeptical where Al Baker is concerned.

Skepticism is always warranted, but he's really dug in his heels. He's even bringing A380s out of storage to make up for parked A350s, which will be a huge expense. It's pretty clear some face-saving accommodation will have to be reached, after all, the customer is always right.

The interesting question is will this situation be enough to drive QR to buy 77XF freighters rather than A350F freighters?

We should know by the time of the Dubai Air Show.

A lot is on the line for Team A, hope their executive team is up to the challenge.
 
Gar1G
Posts: 5
Joined: Mon Oct 25, 2021 3:31 pm

Re: Qatar Airways has grounded 13 A350’s at the request of the Qatar Aviation regulator

Mon Oct 25, 2021 3:36 pm

Looks like another 35K has been taken out A7-ANE. Seems like no let up :(

https://www.planespotters.net/airframe/ ... ays/rqj7ld
 
JohanTally
Posts: 454
Joined: Tue Jun 18, 2019 3:44 am

Re: Qatar Airways has grounded 13 A350’s at the request of the Qatar Aviation regulator

Fri Nov 05, 2021 7:41 pm

The mentioned five A380s are getting ready to return to service to fill in for grounded A350s

https://fr24.com/data/flights/qr3254#29b8115b
 
Opus99
Posts: 2691
Joined: Thu May 30, 2019 10:51 pm

Re: Qatar Airways has grounded 13 A350’s at the request of the Qatar Aviation regulator

Sat Nov 06, 2021 12:45 am

https://www.qatarairways.com/en/press-r ... -2021.html

number has now grown to 19 grounded aircraft.

if this is just to squeeze airbus this is the biggest stunt i have ever seen.

surely it’s costing you more money than whatever break you’re asking for?
 
asuflyer
Posts: 788
Joined: Mon Jan 01, 2007 12:48 pm

Re: Qatar Airways has grounded 13 A350’s at the request of the Qatar Aviation regulator

Sat Nov 06, 2021 1:03 am

Qatar Airways is now taking 4 ex-CX 77W's to serve as backup capacity. Former B-KPL is the first aircraft and is already in Doha.
 
Pelly
Posts: 102
Joined: Tue Jun 14, 2016 8:13 pm

Re: Qatar Airways has grounded 13 A350’s at the request of the Qatar Aviation regulator

Sat Nov 06, 2021 1:09 am

Opus99 wrote:

if this is just to squeeze airbus this is the biggest stunt i have ever seen.

surely it’s costing you more money than whatever break you’re asking for?


Some of the aircraft returned to service were returned after their leases expired, other aircraft with expiring leases had leases extended. QR are also inducting 4 ex-CX 77W. So if as some are claiming that QR has overcapacity and the A350 stuff is a stunt, it is a very elaborate and costly stunt and if it's overcapacity why are they taking on more aircraft?
 
DarQuiet
Posts: 58
Joined: Tue Aug 15, 2017 12:31 am

Re: Qatar Airways has grounded 13 A350’s at the request of the Qatar Aviation regulator

Sat Nov 06, 2021 3:29 am

It's getting spicy :scratchchin: Who will blink first :mischievous:

Opus99 wrote:
https://www.qatarairways.com/en/press-releases/2021/November/a380-2021.html

number has now grown to 19 grounded aircraft.

if this is just to squeeze airbus this is the biggest stunt i have ever seen.

surely it’s costing you more money than whatever break you’re asking for?
 
User avatar
ElroyJetson
Posts: 1033
Joined: Fri May 26, 2017 5:04 am

Re: Qatar Airways has grounded 13 A350’s at the request of the Qatar Aviation regulator

Sat Nov 06, 2021 3:35 am

I agree with a poster who likened this to the 787 shim issue. While not currently a safety issue could it be a safety issue down the line? There are so many contradictory statements from various parties it is hard to know what is truly going on.
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