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

Sat Nov 13, 2021 12:35 pm

zeke wrote:
Pelly wrote:
I addressed this earlier. Why would QR ground a more efficient aircraft if the issue was COVID and over-capacity? Why would QR extend leases on older less efficient aircraft or bring back aircraft after they have been returned to lessors? Why would QR lease in new capacity?


I think you are following the correct bread crumb trail, follow the money (or lack of money). Who is/isnt paying for the aircraft that are not flying because of claims they are defective (I think they all maybe leased), and who is/ isnt paying for the aircraft they have not taken delivery of.

How much could they save a month doing that, some 77W are leasing at half the rate of a A359.


Do you have indications on QR defaulting on the A350 lease payments or attempts of lessors to impound aircraft? Similarly with aircraft under production, has QR not been making pre-delivery payments? QR has been typically doing sale and leasebacks on their A350 which actually improves their short term cash positions because it releases back the amounts held up in pre-delivery payments. QR had about US$6B cash on hand at the end of March 2021 and participated in substantial capital injections in their shareholdings in the past year including at IAG.
 
sxf24
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Re: Qatar Airways has grounded 13 A350’s at the request of the Qatar Aviation regulator

Sat Nov 13, 2021 3:01 pm

zeke wrote:
Pelly wrote:
I addressed this earlier. Why would QR ground a more efficient aircraft if the issue was COVID and over-capacity? Why would QR extend leases on older less efficient aircraft or bring back aircraft after they have been returned to lessors? Why would QR lease in new capacity?


I think you are following the correct bread crumb trail, follow the money (or lack of money). Who is/isnt paying for the aircraft that are not flying because of claims they are defective (I think they all maybe leased), and who is/ isnt paying for the aircraft they have not taken delivery of.

How much could they save a month doing that, some 77W are leasing at half the rate of a A359.


The grounded airplanes are not leased, nor is any of QR’s order book leased. Finally, you don’t stop paying for an airplane because it’s not flying. The only way you get out of paying leases or loans is if there’s a total loss.
 
oldJoe
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Re: Qatar Airways has grounded 13 A350’s at the request of the Qatar Aviation regulator

Sat Nov 13, 2021 7:51 pm

sxf24 wrote:
zeke wrote:
Pelly wrote:
I addressed this earlier. Why would QR ground a more efficient aircraft if the issue was COVID and over-capacity? Why would QR extend leases on older less efficient aircraft or bring back aircraft after they have been returned to lessors? Why would QR lease in new capacity?


I think you are following the correct bread crumb trail, follow the money (or lack of money). Who is/isnt paying for the aircraft that are not flying because of claims they are defective (I think they all maybe leased), and who is/ isnt paying for the aircraft they have not taken delivery of.

How much could they save a month doing that, some 77W are leasing at half the rate of a A359.


The grounded airplanes are not leased, nor is any of QR’s order book leased. Finally, you don’t stop paying for an airplane because it’s not flying. The only way you get out of paying leases or loans is if there’s a total loss.


Any source for your statemant ? Ask BBAM or BOC for leased aircraft, please !!!
 
sxf24
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Re: Qatar Airways has grounded 13 A350’s at the request of the Qatar Aviation regulator

Sat Nov 13, 2021 8:19 pm

oldJoe wrote:
sxf24 wrote:
zeke wrote:

I think you are following the correct bread crumb trail, follow the money (or lack of money). Who is/isnt paying for the aircraft that are not flying because of claims they are defective (I think they all maybe leased), and who is/ isnt paying for the aircraft they have not taken delivery of.

How much could they save a month doing that, some 77W are leasing at half the rate of a A359.


The grounded airplanes are not leased, nor is any of QR’s order book leased. Finally, you don’t stop paying for an airplane because it’s not flying. The only way you get out of paying leases or loans is if there’s a total loss.


Any source for your statemant ? Ask BBAM or BOC for leased aircraft, please !!!


There are many databases for fleet data. Regardless, the point is that grounding aircraft does not remove financial obligations.
 
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par13del
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Re: Qatar Airways has grounded 13 A350’s at the request of the Qatar Aviation regulator

Sat Nov 13, 2021 10:10 pm

So are we now saying that the cost of new efficient a/c does not make an airline more profitable if they continue to use older less efficient gas guzzlers?
In prior threads we were told that the A350 was so much more efficient than the 777 that those savings justified the cost, in these Covid times operating an A380 is now a preferred alternative to an A350, at least for this airline?
 
Opus99
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Re: Qatar Airways has grounded 13 A350’s at the request of the Qatar Aviation regulator

Sat Nov 13, 2021 10:14 pm

par13del wrote:
So are we now saying that the cost of new efficient a/c does not make an airline more profitable if they continue to use older less efficient gas guzzlers?
In prior threads we were told that the A350 was so much more efficient than the 777 that those savings justified the cost, in these Covid times operating an A380 is now a preferred alternative to an A350, at least for this airline?

:checkmark: Thank God I didn’t have to be the one to say it
 
2175301
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Re: Qatar Airways has grounded 13 A350’s at the request of the Qatar Aviation regulator

Sat Nov 13, 2021 11:05 pm

par13del wrote:
So are we now saying that the cost of new efficient a/c does not make an airline more profitable if they continue to use older less efficient gas guzzlers?
In prior threads we were told that the A350 was so much more efficient than the 777 that those savings justified the cost, in these Covid times operating an A380 is now a preferred alternative to an A350, at least for this airline?


Not exactly; but, you do in fact have to run the cost of operating an older air-frame against the cost of operating a new one (all factors). It takes a certain amount of efficiency improvement to financially justify operating a newer aircraft; and add to that the "Image & Reputation" cost associated with being known for owning a younger fleet. More efficient and newness alone does not by itself make for a profitable airline.


As an example: Delta Airlines is well known for maintaining certain older aircraft and being overall very profitable with them, although they do buy some new aircraft. There is even a major thread active on A-net where they purchased a large number of used aircraft.
 
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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

Sun Nov 14, 2021 5:27 am

sxf24 wrote:
There are many databases for fleet data. Regardless, the point is that grounding aircraft does not remove financial obligations.


I believe the legal term is called frustration, when you lease something and it is unable to do what it is supposed to do. It is for this reason to my understanding it was the lease companies that received the most compensation from Boeing for the MAX groundings.

As for not taking on new delivery A350s, that seems to be public knowledge https://www.aerotime.aero/28112-qatar-a ... deliveries

par13del wrote:
So are we now saying that the cost of new efficient a/c does not make an airline more profitable if they continue to use older less efficient gas guzzlers?
In prior threads we were told that the A350 was so much more efficient than the 777 that those savings justified the cost, in these Covid times operating an A380 is now a preferred alternative to an A350, at least for this airline?


This is not as straightforward as it may seem, QR I think is still is at overcapacity with its fleet due covid. Say they stopped paying leases on the grounded A350s, say 13 aircraft at 500k a month, that is a 6.5 million dollar savings, plus the CAPEX savings of not taking new deliveries. 77W are being leased now for 200-250k per month, lease 4 of those, the airline is potentially 5.5 million ahead a month on financing. That will pay the fuel bill for two 77Ws working hard for a month.

The savings for the more efficient aircraft will be most beneficial if they are flying all fleets to capacity.
 
smartplane
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Re: Qatar Airways has grounded 13 A350’s at the request of the Qatar Aviation regulator

Sun Nov 14, 2021 6:18 am

sxf24 wrote:
oldJoe wrote:
sxf24 wrote:

The grounded airplanes are not leased, nor is any of QR’s order book leased. Finally, you don’t stop paying for an airplane because it’s not flying. The only way you get out of paying leases or loans is if there’s a total loss.


Any source for your statemant ? Ask BBAM or BOC for leased aircraft, please !!!


There are many databases for fleet data. Regardless, the point is that grounding aircraft does not remove financial obligations.

Grounding aircraft does not remove financial obligations, but, many lessors have paused or forgiven payments, some adding to EOL payments, others waiving or discounting. This is done carefully so as not to 'harm' the lease, and / or trigger broader financial covenants, so the usual modus operandi is for the payment to be made, and then returned in part or whole.
 
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lightsaber
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Re: Qatar Airways has grounded 13 A350’s at the request of the Qatar Aviation regulator

Sun Nov 14, 2021 6:52 am

This is bizarre. No other airline has reported the issue that I could find. EASA knows their stuff and isn't taking action.

https://askbill.co.uk/easa-not-intendin ... nding-yet/

While I personally find AAB's negotiate in public style annoying, I also do not see QR grounding A350s without some real findings...

Lightsaber
 
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A330freak
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Re: Qatar Airways has grounded 13 A350’s at the request of the Qatar Aviation regulator

Mon Nov 29, 2021 10:49 am

Reuters article below, providing quite a bit of new information including photos of what's been observed.

https://www.reuters.com/business/aerosp ... 021-11-29/
 
Opus99
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Re: Qatar Airways has grounded 13 A350’s at the request of the Qatar Aviation regulator

Mon Nov 29, 2021 10:54 am

A330freak wrote:
Reuters article below, providing quite a bit of new information including photos of what's been observed.

https://www.reuters.com/business/aerosp ... 021-11-29/

Okay this is actually quite visible. More visible than I thought it would be. Damn
 
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JerseyFlyer
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Re: Qatar Airways has grounded 13 A350’s at the request of the Qatar Aviation regulator

Mon Nov 29, 2021 11:35 am

That looks so bad that I am amazed the pics have not been published before. Anyone able to identify the part of the aircraft(s) shown in the pics?

Quotes from the Reuters article:

Good:

"Airbus says it has found a root cause, but sources with two affected airlines said they had not been notified of one."

"Airbus is nonetheless looking at updating the lightning system to a more flexible material called Perforated Copper Foil, industry sources said. Airbus confirmed it is one option under review." Doubtful that would be retrofittable.

Not so good:

"But what for months had been widely presented as an isolated issue related to Qatar's severe heat is more widespread, according to a private maintenance message board used by Airbus and A350 operators and reviewed by Reuters." Several airlines are named in the article - does anyone have access to this message board?

"unlike metal, carbon does not expand and shrink as temperatures change. Yet paint does, resulting in a tug of war between plane and paint that can cause peeling over time. Problems reported by Qatar Airways and some - though far from all - other A350 operators suggest this is happening earlier than expected"
 
LTEN11
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Re: Qatar Airways has grounded 13 A350’s at the request of the Qatar Aviation regulator

Mon Nov 29, 2021 11:46 am

A330freak wrote:
Reuters article below, providing quite a bit of new information including photos of what's been observed.

https://www.reuters.com/business/aerosp ... 021-11-29/


If they were my aircraft, I'd be pissed off too. Besides the cosmetics, that rough surface would have to affect the airflow and fuel economy, may not be a huge amount, but every drop counts.

Those pics aren't just from the grey painted areas on the QR aircraft, so the baking in the sun should be discounted a touch and you can't exactly say HEL is known for it's hot weather. I know tarmacs get hot, but that's true at every airport in the sun and they still aren't going to be as hot as the surface of the top of the aircraft.
 
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JerseyFlyer
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Re: Qatar Airways has grounded 13 A350’s at the request of the Qatar Aviation regulator

Mon Nov 29, 2021 11:47 am

Simple Flying has picked this up and added a comment about the issue at LH:

"Lufthansa sent messages in 2017 saying that areas of peeling paint had been discovered on its A350s, some as big as a meter square. The German flag carrier had begun repainting its fleet of A350s in February this year, ostensibly to apply the new livery to the aircraft. However, it was notable that Airbus was carrying out the work rather than Lufthansa’s own teams, and it was alleged that the repaint was being done free of charge under warranty."

https://simpleflying.com/a-new-layer-to ... -concerns/
 
Opus99
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Re: Qatar Airways has grounded 13 A350’s at the request of the Qatar Aviation regulator

Mon Nov 29, 2021 11:54 am

JerseyFlyer wrote:
Simple Flying has picked this up and added a comment about the issue at LH:

"Lufthansa sent messages in 2017 saying that areas of peeling paint had been discovered on its A350s, some as big as a meter square. The German flag carrier had begun repainting its fleet of A350s in February this year, ostensibly to apply the new livery to the aircraft. However, it was notable that Airbus was carrying out the work rather than Lufthansa’s own teams, and it was alleged that the repaint was being done free of charge under warranty."

https://simpleflying.com/a-new-layer-to ... -concerns/

Does the repaint come with a fix to the actual problem or just a repaint?
 
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Polot
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Re: Qatar Airways has grounded 13 A350’s at the request of the Qatar Aviation regulator

Mon Nov 29, 2021 11:59 am

Opus99 wrote:
JerseyFlyer wrote:
Simple Flying has picked this up and added a comment about the issue at LH:

"Lufthansa sent messages in 2017 saying that areas of peeling paint had been discovered on its A350s, some as big as a meter square. The German flag carrier had begun repainting its fleet of A350s in February this year, ostensibly to apply the new livery to the aircraft. However, it was notable that Airbus was carrying out the work rather than Lufthansa’s own teams, and it was alleged that the repaint was being done free of charge under warranty."

https://simpleflying.com/a-new-layer-to ... -concerns/

Does the repaint come with a fix to the actual problem or just a repaint?

Probably just a repaint. Reading between the lines it sounds like Airbus doesn’t have a permanent fix yet.

It’s interesting that Ethiad has been affected- their planes have yet to enter service and have spent most of their lives stored in France.
 
2175301
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Re: Qatar Airways has grounded 13 A350’s at the request of the Qatar Aviation regulator

Mon Nov 29, 2021 12:37 pm

Those pictures look like the entire protective epoxy cover layer above the copper grid is being pulled apart from the panels by the adherent paint, instead of just having the paint flaking off.

This is not a paint issue. QR was right all along; and now we know that multiple carriers are affected.

This is not going to be a cheap fix. Airbus has to reconstruct how their carbon fiber panels are being fabricated... with adequate testing (which takes time); and then retrofit them onto older aircraft.

Airbus and EASA might not consider this to be an "immediate" safety concern. But degradation of the copper grid will most likely lead to one at some point.

These pictures and other airlines having the same issue affects current marketability of the A350 and A350F.
 
Noshow
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Re: Qatar Airways has grounded 13 A350’s at the request of the Qatar Aviation regulator

Mon Nov 29, 2021 12:45 pm

It looks wild. This cannot remain this way and very much I would consider this safety relevant. Think about foreign object damage and engines ingesting bits and chips of this? What happened? Wrong chemicals? Too much heat in the desert? I thought CFRP has been used for many years and there a no real surprises anymore?
 
TC957
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Re: Qatar Airways has grounded 13 A350’s at the request of the Qatar Aviation regulator

Mon Nov 29, 2021 12:51 pm

Could this issue be why EY haven't put their brand new 350's in service yet ? They will operate in a similar environment to QR's fleet - maybe leave them for a few weeks parked up and see what happens to the paint ?
 
LTEN11
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Re: Qatar Airways has grounded 13 A350’s at the request of the Qatar Aviation regulator

Mon Nov 29, 2021 1:48 pm

Polot wrote:
Opus99 wrote:
JerseyFlyer wrote:
Simple Flying has picked this up and added a comment about the issue at LH:

"Lufthansa sent messages in 2017 saying that areas of peeling paint had been discovered on its A350s, some as big as a meter square. The German flag carrier had begun repainting its fleet of A350s in February this year, ostensibly to apply the new livery to the aircraft. However, it was notable that Airbus was carrying out the work rather than Lufthansa’s own teams, and it was alleged that the repaint was being done free of charge under warranty."

https://simpleflying.com/a-new-layer-to ... -concerns/

Does the repaint come with a fix to the actual problem or just a repaint?

Probably just a repaint. Reading between the lines it sounds like Airbus doesn’t have a permanent fix yet.

It’s interesting that Ethiad has been affected- their planes have yet to enter service and have spent most of their lives stored in France.


I think you’ll find Etihad mentioned as they probably do maintenance for other carriers 350’s.
 
JonesNL
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Re: Qatar Airways has grounded 13 A350’s at the request of the Qatar Aviation regulator

Mon Nov 29, 2021 1:56 pm

2175301 wrote:
Those pictures look like the entire protective epoxy cover layer above the copper grid is being pulled apart from the panels by the adherent paint, instead of just having the paint flaking off.

This is not a paint issue. QR was right all along; and now we know that multiple carriers are affected.

This is not going to be a cheap fix. Airbus has to reconstruct how their carbon fiber panels are being fabricated... with adequate testing (which takes time); and then retrofit them onto older aircraft.

Airbus and EASA might not consider this to be an "immediate" safety concern. But degradation of the copper grid will most likely lead to one at some point.

These pictures and other airlines having the same issue affects current marketability of the A350 and A350F.


Exactly, a lot of people, even me, doubted QR, but they were at least right that it is not a simple issue. My guess is that Airbus has to fix it and the compensations + fixes could wind up in the Billions.

Not sure I agree with the marketability premises; While this is a expensive fix for existing builds and might cost extra to add in the process for newly builds, I highly doubt the marketability will go down after the fix is implemented in newly build A350's.

See Max or 787, problems are abundant and well recorded, still Boeing manages to sell...
 
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Polot
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Re: Qatar Airways has grounded 13 A350’s at the request of the Qatar Aviation regulator

Mon Nov 29, 2021 1:58 pm

TC957 wrote:
Could this issue be why EY haven't put their brand new 350's in service yet ? They will operate in a similar environment to QR's fleet - maybe leave them for a few weeks parked up and see what happens to the paint ?

EY didn’t put them into service for financial reasons. They were losing tons of money and to cut costs they decided to not to place them into service (which meant they didn’t have to train crews, have spare parts on hand, etc).
 
Opus99
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Re: Qatar Airways has grounded 13 A350’s at the request of the Qatar Aviation regulator

Mon Nov 29, 2021 2:03 pm

JonesNL wrote:
2175301 wrote:
Those pictures look like the entire protective epoxy cover layer above the copper grid is being pulled apart from the panels by the adherent paint, instead of just having the paint flaking off.

This is not a paint issue. QR was right all along; and now we know that multiple carriers are affected.

This is not going to be a cheap fix. Airbus has to reconstruct how their carbon fiber panels are being fabricated... with adequate testing (which takes time); and then retrofit them onto older aircraft.

Airbus and EASA might not consider this to be an "immediate" safety concern. But degradation of the copper grid will most likely lead to one at some point.

These pictures and other airlines having the same issue affects current marketability of the A350 and A350F.


Exactly, a lot of people, even me, doubted QR, but they were at least right that it is not a simple issue. My guess is that Airbus has to fix it and the compensations + fixes could wind up in the Billions.

Not sure I agree with the marketability premises; While this is a expensive fix for existing builds and might cost extra to add in the process for newly builds, I highly doubt the marketability will go down after the fix is implemented in newly build A350's.

See Max or 787, problems are abundant and well recorded, still Boeing manages to sell...

It won’t affect marketability. Like you point out MAX is selling.

It’s just the cost for airbus and they can swallow it. But It’s irritating and it’s a lot
 
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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

Mon Nov 29, 2021 2:14 pm

JerseyFlyer wrote:
That looks so bad that I am amazed the pics have not been published before. Anyone able to identify the part of the aircraft(s) shown in the pics?


Doesn’t look that bad to me, it appears just to be on the surface. I have seen this sort of appearance on engine cowls for longer than I can remember.

LTEN11 wrote:
Besides the cosmetics, that rough surface would have to affect the airflow and fuel economy, may not be a huge amount, but every drop counts.


Doubt that, the boundary layer would be tall enough to walk under st te tail. It would be turbulent flow there anyway.

Besides, it’s the operator should be maintaining this, not the manufacturer. I see a few spots where someone has come and painted over some rivets, however those large areas don’t just develop overnight. They have let it get that bad before doing something about it.

Would not want to be the person who let those photos get in the public domain.
 
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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

Mon Nov 29, 2021 2:16 pm

2175301 wrote:
Those pictures look like the entire protective epoxy cover layer above the copper grid is being pulled apart from the panels by the adherent paint, instead of just having the paint flaking off.


Filling and replacing the epoxy is a standard part of any composite aircraft repaint. Suggest you look at the AMM procedures for this that have been around since A320s were flying.
 
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Polot
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Re: Qatar Airways has grounded 13 A350’s at the request of the Qatar Aviation regulator

Mon Nov 29, 2021 2:25 pm

zeke wrote:
2175301 wrote:
Those pictures look like the entire protective epoxy cover layer above the copper grid is being pulled apart from the panels by the adherent paint, instead of just having the paint flaking off.


Filling and replacing the epoxy is a standard part of any composite aircraft repaint. Suggest you look at the AMM procedures for this that have been around since A320s were flying.

That doesn’t mean epoxy should be shedding this quickly. This isn’t paint that is being purposely stripped (which might result in epoxy removal as well) for repainting.
Last edited by Polot on Mon Nov 29, 2021 2:40 pm, edited 2 times in total.
 
queb
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Re: Qatar Airways has grounded 13 A350’s at the request of the Qatar Aviation regulator

Mon Nov 29, 2021 2:26 pm

JerseyFlyer wrote:
That looks so bad that I am amazed the pics have not been published before. Anyone able to identify the part of the aircraft(s) shown in the pics?


it looks like a wing static discharger to me, so probably in the wingtip area
 
Kikko19
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Re: Qatar Airways has grounded 13 A350’s at the request of the Qatar Aviation regulator

Mon Nov 29, 2021 2:36 pm

queb wrote:
JerseyFlyer wrote:
That looks so bad that I am amazed the pics have not been published before. Anyone able to identify the part of the aircraft(s) shown in the pics?


it looks like a wing static discharger to me, so probably in the wingtip area

They seem close ups. I wonder how big they are. Certainly not looking good. No guarantees from Airbus?
 
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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

Mon Nov 29, 2021 3:01 pm

JerseyFlyer wrote:
Simple Flying has picked this up and added a comment about the issue at LH:

"Lufthansa sent messages in 2017 saying that areas of peeling paint had been discovered on its A350s, some as big as a meter square. The German flag carrier had begun repainting its fleet of A350s in February this year, ostensibly to apply the new livery to the aircraft. However, it was notable that Airbus was carrying out the work rather than Lufthansa’s own teams, and it was alleged that the repaint was being done free of charge under warranty."

https://simpleflying.com/a-new-layer-to ... -concerns/


This is a different issue and presents itself soon after delivery. Airbus fixes it at no charge. Typically part of the polyurethane paint just detaches from the expiry sealer.
 
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BaconButty
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Re: Qatar Airways has grounded 13 A350’s at the request of the Qatar Aviation regulator

Mon Nov 29, 2021 4:22 pm

Just for clarification, from the Reuters article (since it seems one or two haven't read it):

Airbus says there is no risk to the A350's safety - a point echoed by the other airlines, which have not grounded any jets and describe the issue as "cosmetic."


So Mr Al Bakr isn't really "vindicated".
 
pugman211
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Re: Qatar Airways has grounded 13 A350’s at the request of the Qatar Aviation regulator

Mon Nov 29, 2021 4:42 pm

That is indeed a static wick area of the aircraft, it also looks white and not the usual grey which would put the area in the picture around the wingtip/aileron and the rear elevator. (And IIRC, all A350 wings are painted white?)

So, there are 2 questions from the picture. a, is the issue just located around the static wick, or is it also found on the large panel sections too?

b, how is this not classed as a manufacturing issue?
 
Opus99
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Re: Qatar Airways has grounded 13 A350’s at the request of the Qatar Aviation regulator

Mon Nov 29, 2021 4:42 pm

Let me not even add the fact that airbus CEO lied about the fact that this was a Qatar isolated issue….and no one else had complained

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles ... ite-cracks

“There’s no reason for the planes to be grounded and no other A350 operators have reported the same issue, Airbus Chief Executive Officer Guilluame Faury said in a separate interview Sunday at the same gathering, hosted by the International Air Transport Association. “


Since some of you say I’m obsessed. Let me bring out the details
 
sxf24
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Re: Qatar Airways has grounded 13 A350’s at the request of the Qatar Aviation regulator

Mon Nov 29, 2021 4:57 pm

Opus99 wrote:
Let me not even add the fact that airbus CEO lied about the fact that this was a Qatar isolated issue….and no one else had complained

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles ... ite-cracks

“There’s no reason for the planes to be grounded and no other A350 operators have reported the same issue, Airbus Chief Executive Officer Guilluame Faury said in a separate interview Sunday at the same gathering, hosted by the International Air Transport Association. “


Since some of you say I’m obsessed. Let me bring out the details


I think management of the problem could be a bigger issue. In addition to Faury’s blatant lie, I’ve heard a lot of frustration from other operators. While Airbus says it is aggressively pursuing a fix and design and production changes, clearly admitting this is not a maintenance issue, there’s very little transparency with operators. This comes across as arrogant which is a great way to destroy trust (ref Boeing during early stages of MAX grounding).
 
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bikerthai
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Re: Qatar Airways has grounded 13 A350’s at the request of the Qatar Aviation regulator

Mon Nov 29, 2021 5:09 pm

Not to familiar with Airbus lightning strike mesh, but this would be something I would expect from a lightning strike hit, some paint damage, but if the mesh is not damage, then all they need is to re-paint.

Surface prep is really important in galvanic dissimilar materials stack-up. In the past, Airbus was less conservative than Boeing in this situation. Wonder this is in the same vein.

If the problem is localized, then it may be something as minor as proper grounding procedure from the mesh to the fitting. The engineering fix may be simple, but the fix in the field would be expensive e any way you slice it.

bt
 
bpatus297
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Re: Qatar Airways has grounded 13 A350’s at the request of the Qatar Aviation regulator

Mon Nov 29, 2021 5:13 pm

Opus99 wrote:
Let me not even add the fact that airbus CEO lied about the fact that this was a Qatar isolated issue….and no one else had complained

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles ... ite-cracks

“There’s no reason for the planes to be grounded and no other A350 operators have reported the same issue, Airbus Chief Executive Officer Guilluame Faury said in a separate interview Sunday at the same gathering, hosted by the International Air Transport Association. “


Since some of you say I’m obsessed. Let me bring out the details



I am willing to bet the Airbus CEO didn't lie, rather is using semantics. I bet that the wording that Qatar used was a tad different from what other operators reported, hence not a lie. He might be dishonest, but not a lie per se. I wasn't sure if Qatar was just complaining or if it was a real issue until I saw those pictures. I would be pissed too. I wonder if that is an isolated frame or if they all look like that (more or less). I could see that be a lightning strike exit, but if a lot of frames look like that, I would think there is more going on.
 
jeffrey0032j
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Re: Qatar Airways has grounded 13 A350’s at the request of the Qatar Aviation regulator

Mon Nov 29, 2021 5:30 pm

This is not superficial, this is like removing your own skin and exposing the muscles. The 787 paint degradation, that is superficial and could be solved by a simple repaint.
 
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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

Mon Nov 29, 2021 5:42 pm

This is clearly an Airbus manufacturing issue as some aircraft were already having these issues only a few weeks after delivery.

I also feel there has been a high degree of dishonesty as the A350 paint issue was repeatedly represented as being confined to only QR, when in fact the issue has been reported by multiple operators since at least 2016.

If as LH is reporting, that a meter square area of paint is gone on a relatively new aircraft this is not "a normal" maintenance issue. If both the paint and underlying mesh is gone exposing the carbon fiber on a new aircraft this is not "normal."

I have defended Airbus for over a year on this issue, but this is clearly more serious than Airbus or the EASA has publicly represented. The fact Airbus has put together a team to investigate and allegedly find a long term fix for the problem indicates this is a manufacturing process problem, not "normal maintenance." In addition, having both the paint and copper mesh lightening protection missing from parts of the fuselage may not be an immediate safety concern, but it certainly is as the aircraft ages.

It does not sit well that this issue has imho been factually misrepresented for over a year. If I were any of the airlines involved and my several weeks old to a few year old A350's were experiencing these problems I would not be happy as well.
 
2175301
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Re: Qatar Airways has grounded 13 A350’s at the request of the Qatar Aviation regulator

Mon Nov 29, 2021 6:35 pm

Rereading the article with a more critical eye; There appears to be 3 different issues.

I'll get rid of the most minor one 1st: The paint problems at the rivets in the pictures. The article also states that the Boeing 787 also has paint problems with the rivets (and Boeing says they are working on that). So that appears to be a minor cosmetic industry wide issue

The article discusses that different kinds of paint were used by different airlines; and for example Cathy Pacific reports the problem as just paint peeling; while Finnair reports exposed and missing copper mesh (picture 6 or 6 in the Reuters clearly shows broken copper mesh).

My speculation on this is as follows:

1) Paint that is not tightly adhering to the epoxy surface has a peeling problem, which is not affecting the CFRP sandwich protective layer. This is a cosmetic issue only. A simple repaint with a more tightly adhering paint solves the issue. Airbus has apparently been doing this.

2) Paint that is very tightly adhering is taking the protective surface layer of the CFRP with it and exposing the copper mesh. At least 2 operators (QR & Finnair) apparently have reported that there are areas of missing copper mesh as well. It's also questionable if the rate of non-impact damaged paint degradation is considered normal.

From a safety standpoint perhaps Zeke can answer the following question: Are there existing calculations or standards that say how large of an area can be missing the copper mesh before its a safety concern (100, 250, 500, etc. square centimeters, with perhaps a maximum dimension of the widest part). This is the question I would ask if I was employed by the Regulator. Only such calculations and standards can support the claim that its not a safety issue (at this time).

Also to add: I find that Airbus's previous statements that this was only a paint problem to be problematic.

While I accept that Airbus had developed a procedure to repair impact damaged CFRP including some exposure of the copper mesh; the fact that this problem existing is apparently not expected from normal use and does not appear to be impact related. As such, I do not see it as normal maintenance.

I also recall from back when Airbus decided to use CFRP panels over a metal frame (vs the B787 style barrels) that one of the touted advantages of the panels was that Airbus could replace any panel on the A350 if it was badly damaged; while it would not be possible to economically replace a B787 barrel.
 
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ClipperYankee
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Re: Qatar Airways has grounded 13 A350’s at the request of the Qatar Aviation regulator

Mon Nov 29, 2021 6:42 pm

Based on the pictures shown in this Reuters story the damage looks pretty ugly. (Pics are free to see, registration might be needed to read the story, which mentions other airlines.)

https://www.reuters.com/business/aerosp ... 021-11-29/
 
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bikerthai
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Re: Qatar Airways has grounded 13 A350’s at the request of the Qatar Aviation regulator

Mon Nov 29, 2021 6:59 pm

2175301 wrote:
Paint that is not tightly adhering to the epoxy surface has a peeling problem,


This is unlikely as for the most part, exterior paint is Epoxy based. I could be wrong as they may be going to a more environmentally friendly paints.

If you can pin the problem to the surface prep of the conductive mesh, then that could explain both the paint peeling off the mesh and the mesh peeling off the skin.

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

Mon Nov 29, 2021 7:02 pm

2175301 wrote:
also recall from back when Airbus decided to use CFRP panels over a metal frame (vs the B787 style barrels) that one of the touted advantages of the panels was that Airbus could replace any panel on the A350 if it was badly damaged; while it would not be possible to economically replace a B787 barrel.


Not just any metal but aluminum. This goes back a long time. For better or for worst, Airbus seems to be more comfortable with the aluminum/graphite interface than Boeing.

bt
 
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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

Mon Nov 29, 2021 9:46 pm

ElroyJetson wrote:
If as LH is reporting, that a meter square area of paint is gone on a relatively new aircraft this is not "a normal" maintenance issue. If both the paint and underlying mesh is gone exposing the carbon fiber on a new aircraft this is not "normal."


This is a separate issue to what QR is saying, and the results are different between airlines as paint is a customer option, not only the livery, also the actual paint type. Aircraft paints these days are more environmentally friendly, while they advertise to perform similar to more traditional paints, I personally don’t think they perform as well. I have seen areas with the paint to peel in the airflow. It is something you let Airbus know about, and they fix it.

What I see on those QR photos looks more like lightning damage. With lightning damage there is a documented inspection and repair process. If they are not maintained (I.e. follow that process) water gets into that lightning damage area every cycle, as water gets to 4 degC it expands and freezes. That water and subsequently ice will lift and crack that epoxy layer off. This is a known problem with any sort of bonded interface on aircraft.
 
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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

Mon Nov 29, 2021 10:16 pm

2175301 wrote:
Are there existing calculations or standards that say how large of an area can be missing the copper mesh before its a safety concern (100, 250, 500, etc. square centimeters, with perhaps a maximum dimension of the widest part). This is the question I would ask if I was employed by the Regulator. Only such calculations and standards can support the claim that its not a safety issue (at this time).


Yes there are limits specified for different zones, if it exceeds those limits it is referred to Airbus. Typically for larger lightning strikes areas Airbus will issue a dispensation for 21 days to facilitate time to perform further testing and repair, this is based upon the evidence (photos, measurements etc) supplied by the mechanics inspecting it. I have been on relatively short flights in the tropics and end up with 40 lightning strikes. Luckily where I work they will undertake the required maintenance tasks, if that results in a delay or cancellation of a flight, that is what it takes. Other airlines have different priorities, and these issues will not be “noticed” until commercially convenient.

2175301 wrote:
I find that Airbus's previous statements that this was only a paint problem to be problematic.


On a composite aircraft the paint includes the filler, sanding, epoxy protection layer, and the actual final polyurethane livery.

Eg UAE guidance on this, https://www.gcaa.gov.ae/en/epublication ... E%2001.pdf

“ The term painting embraces the associated processes of stripping and such terms as refinishing and refurbishing, as well as preparation, inspection and return to service.”
 
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aemoreira1981
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Re: Qatar Airways has grounded 13 A350’s at the request of the Qatar Aviation regulator

Mon Nov 29, 2021 11:11 pm

Qatar Airways and Finnair were the first and third global customers for the A350XWB worldwide. But both operate in quite different environments (HEL is perhaps the coldest major hub airport worldwide and DOH is one of the hottest). That AY has also complained tells me it has to be an Airbus issue. Where is VN on this though? They were the customer between QR and AY.
 
2175301
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Re: Qatar Airways has grounded 13 A350’s at the request of the Qatar Aviation regulator

Mon Nov 29, 2021 11:58 pm

zeke wrote:
On a composite aircraft the paint includes the filler, sanding, epoxy protection layer, and the actual final polyurethane livery.

Eg UAE guidance on this, https://www.gcaa.gov.ae/en/epublication ... E%2001.pdf

“ The term painting embraces the associated processes of stripping and such terms as refinishing and refurbishing, as well as preparation, inspection and return to service.”


I have no problem with your definition;

However, it does not include the surface layer of the CFRP sandwich which covers and protects the copper mesh (the copper mesh is not visible on the raw CFRP sandwich surface).

The pictures show, that layer has broken off with the paint. So now you are well beyond filling an uneven surface, sanding, and multi-layer painting the aircraft. The CFRP sandwich now needs to be repaired before it can be painted. That's much different than having paint strip off and normal repainting activities.
 
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par13del
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Re: Qatar Airways has grounded 13 A350’s at the request of the Qatar Aviation regulator

Tue Nov 30, 2021 12:08 am

zeke wrote:
On a composite aircraft the paint includes the filler, sanding, epoxy protection layer, and the actual final polyurethane livery.

Eg UAE guidance on this, https://www.gcaa.gov.ae/en/epublication ... E%2001.pdf

“ The term painting embraces the associated processes of stripping and such terms as refinishing and refurbishing, as well as preparation, inspection and return to service.”

In your previous post you stated that paint is a customer option, I would like to hope that the OEM advises the only acceptable types to ensure the viability of the product.
Now if as you state above that paint also includes these other items - for composite a/c - I am surprised that so much control would be given over to the operator, especially after the initial A380 drama of airlines go wild configuring.
 
2175301
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Re: Qatar Airways has grounded 13 A350’s at the request of the Qatar Aviation regulator

Tue Nov 30, 2021 12:21 am

zeke wrote:
2175301 wrote:
Are there existing calculations or standards that say how large of an area can be missing the copper mesh before its a safety concern (100, 250, 500, etc. square centimeters, with perhaps a maximum dimension of the widest part). This is the question I would ask if I was employed by the Regulator. Only such calculations and standards can support the claim that its not a safety issue (at this time).


Yes there are limits specified for different zones, if it exceeds those limits it is referred to Airbus. Typically for larger lightning strikes areas Airbus will issue a dispensation for 21 days to facilitate time to perform further testing and repair, this is based upon the evidence (photos, measurements etc) supplied by the mechanics inspecting it. I have been on relatively short flights in the tropics and end up with 40 lightning strikes. Luckily where I work they will undertake the required maintenance tasks, if that results in a delay or cancellation of a flight, that is what it takes. Other airlines have different priorities, and these issues will not be “noticed” until commercially convenient.


Thanks for the information.
 
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bikerthai
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Re: Qatar Airways has grounded 13 A350’s at the request of the Qatar Aviation regulator

Tue Nov 30, 2021 12:59 am

2175301 wrote:
However, it does not include the surface layer of the CFRP sandwich which covers and protects the copper mesh (the copper mesh is not visible on the raw CFRP sandwich surface).


:?: What layer of CFRP on top of the copper mesh???

Also, note that we are talking about structural composite which are solid laminate and not sandwich panels.

The copper layer is a non structural layer and is meant to be the first layer to absorb the lightning strike. Anything above that would be purely cosmetic.

A CFRP on top of the mesh would be useless as there is no mechanism to transfer shear load through the copper mesh to the CFRP layer underneath.

In some construction, there is a fiberglass nonstructual isolation layer between the CFRP and the mesh. So during repair of the mesh, you can go down to the glass layer and not damage the structural layer.

bt
 
trex8
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Re: Qatar Airways has grounded 13 A350’s at the request of the Qatar Aviation regulator

Tue Nov 30, 2021 1:33 am

So for those of us technically challenged. The copper mesh is a layer above and distinct from the structural CFRP and under the paint? Or is it incorporated into the outer layers of the CFRP?

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