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

Tue Nov 30, 2021 9:13 pm

Either Airbus completely FUBARed the handling of this issue, or there is another side of the story we're not hearing about.

It could also be that Al Baker's demands are completely unreasonable, as other airlines experiencing similar issues are still flying them. It would not be the first time.
 
JohanTally
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Re: Qatar Airways has grounded 13 A350’s at the request of the Qatar Aviation regulator

Tue Nov 30, 2021 9:25 pm

ElroyJetson wrote:
zeke wrote:
bikerthai wrote:
Lightning may explain the static discharge probe, but does not explain the other photos. The one thing that all the photos have in common is the paint crack is occurring at the edge of the part.

This lead me to believe that it is a moisture wicking issue, so if they can can better seal the edge after trimming, then they may solve that problem. As always, total guesswork. :scratchchin:

bt


You and I both know, regardless of the initial mechanism, those photos show areas that should have been address well before they have reached that stage they are in, none of that happened in over a day, I would suggest more like a year or two.

What do you think the FAAs reaction would be if photos like this of a DL A350 made it to the press, do you think they would not be grounding the aircraft also, and asking DL how did you let it get that bad ? In reality an organisation like DL would maintain their aircraft and not leave damage to the elements for long periods.



Just asking because I have no idea,.but does QR have a reputation for poor maintenance? If so, are they attempting to pin a poor maintenance issue on Airbus?

The ME3 are typically very highly ranked from a safety standpoint and QR was recently ranked 2nd only to QF. Obviously maintenance plays a large part in the overall safety of an airline. AA was recently dinged for flying around an aircraft with an inoperable slide for more than a year and had other serious maintenance deficiencies. Some airlines are more prone to fly around with MELs that should be addressed and others fix the issue when it arises. The ME3 have the advantage that for the most part every other flight the aircraft is at their maintenance base.

https://www.cnn.com/travel/article/worl ... index.html
https://www.businessinsider.com/faa-ove ... 021-10?amp
 
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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 10:26 pm

From

https://www.google.com/amp/s/simpleflyi ... erest/amp/

 ongoing issues with the paint degradation on the A350 passenger jets have caused what he calls a “very large dent” in the airline’s widebody operations.


Al Baker has previously noted he is only ‘reluctantly’ bringing back the A380 because of capacity issues caused by the loss of his A350s. 


My read: They are not happy because they have to take their A350 out of service for re-paint. They have to bring back the A380 to retain the capacity.


bt
 
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 10:35 pm

frmrCapCadet wrote:
The 'bind' for Airbus as I see it, is going to show up in future contracts just what maintenance will be involved in protecting that copper layer. Those 'cheaper', 'lighter', 'easier to repair' surface paints/layers may come at a price. It will become 'baked' into the contract.


I believe that Airlines are going to be very cautious about that. So we know that the issues first appeared at Finnair and QR; the 2 airlines with perhaps the most extreme temperature changes in normal operation.

If I recall correctly it showed up at after 4+ years.

It may well show up in all other airlines later... A point that I'm sure that the various airlines are aware of.

So how do we estimate the cost of an issue that we don't yet know how it will play out over the life of the Aircraft? My guess is that the Airlines are going to leave its repair and replacement to Airbus until at least another decade when a lot more is known about the issue.

If Airbus comes up with replacement parts that don't have the issue.... It may be that replacing the old parts during C checks may become standard.
 
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 10:46 pm

bikerthai wrote:
My read: They are not happy because they have to take their A350 out of service for re-paint. They have to bring back the A380 to retain the capacity.


bt


I interpret it differently: They have to take the aircraft out of service for repair... and Airbus cannot even tell them what the actual cause of the issue is, and may not have yet issued any repair instructions for the condition as it exists.

This may be different to repair than lightning strike.

It's not just a paint issue. I'm sure that if the surface layer of the CFRP sandwich was intact with the protective layer(s) and you could not see any copper mesh... that there would not be much of any discussion at all; and repaint would have gone essentially as scheduled.
 
LTEN11
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Re: Qatar Airways has grounded 13 A350’s at the request of the Qatar Aviation regulator

Tue Nov 30, 2021 11:58 pm

zeke wrote:
bikerthai wrote:
Lightning may explain the static discharge probe, but does not explain the other photos. The one thing that all the photos have in common is the paint crack is occurring at the edge of the part.

This lead me to believe that it is a moisture wicking issue, so if they can can better seal the edge after trimming, then they may solve that problem. As always, total guesswork. :scratchchin:

bt


You and I both know, regardless of the initial mechanism, those photos show areas that should have been address well before they have reached that stage they are in, none of that happened in over a day, I would suggest more like a year or two.

What do you think the FAAs reaction would be if photos like this of a DL A350 made it to the press, do you think they would not be grounding the aircraft also, and asking DL how did you let it get that bad ? In reality an organisation like DL would maintain their aircraft and not leave damage to the elements for long periods.


So as far as your concerned, this is all of QR’s making and nothing to do with how the aircraft is completed by Airbus ?

QR have managed to maintain all of the rest of the aircraft they have owned over the years to a level high enough to meet all regulatory requirements, but what you seem to consider a simple paint issue and lack of routine maintenance has led to one of the biggest stand offs between a customer and supplier. A stand off that could well cause the supplier a multi billion dollar order, sure that seems reasonable :roll:
 
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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

Wed Dec 01, 2021 12:11 am

Anyone who bought a new car can relate.

Sure, the paint is bubbling around the fender. Just take it in and they will repaint it. It is under warranty.

O.K. you take the afternoon off from work to drop it off at the dealer, and next week you take another afternoon off to pick it up.

Mean while, you ask yourself, what's going to happen when the warranty runs out? Cause you know its going to happen again down the road.

Maybe its time to sell it off and get a different model

bt
 
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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 Dec 01, 2021 2:41 am

Moved discussion of QR and A350F from A350F thread as per mod request..

Wildlander wrote:
Highly unlikely that AIB have not made (repeated?) attempts to placate QR. Presumably these have been deemed insufficient. Perhaps QR are asking AIB to write a blank cheque covering much more than paint? No manufacturer aggrevates a high profile, high volume customer and in doing so throws away the chance of a substantial A350F launch order without there being a profound reason. It follows that QR compensation/remedy demands are considered disproportionate and/or unreasonable.

AAB is not asking for a blank cheque, he's asking for the root cause and the solution to the issue:

"They have acknowledged that they are working to find a solution, which means they still don't have a solution," Al Baker said on Tuesday, adding the Airbus problems were worse than current production flaws faced by the Boeing 787 (BA.N).

"And they don't have a solution because they still don't know why it is happening. You know it is always better when there is a problem to admit, not to put your customer in a corner and blame them for something which is actually your own problem."

Ref: https://www.reuters.com/business/aerosp ... 2021-11-30

Wildlander wrote:
Will QR still manage to obtain a spectacular 777XF launch discount when Boeing know that there is no competition?

QR has lots of negotiating leverage with Boeing. They are a 779 and 787 customer and both are having issues discussed elsewhere. I'm sure QR could use compensation credits to get pretty impressive 77XF pricing, support to keep their current 77Fs going as long as needed, etc.

WayexTDI wrote:
What's his alternative? Order a yet-to-be-offered variant of a yet-to-be-certified plane?

Since he's ruled out A350F, yes, that's the alternative.

https://www.reuters.com/business/aerosp ... 021-06-03/ is pretty informative, it seems QR and Boeing have been talking about 77XF since June.

ST PETERSBURG, Russia, June 3 (Reuters) - Qatar Airways is weighing a multibillion-dollar investment with a potential order for 30 or more freighters, attracting interest from Boeing Co (BA.N), which has begun offering a freighter version of its future 777X jetliner, the airline's chief executive said.

In April, the Gulf carrier said it was interested in a 777X freighter but had not been told by Boeing of any plans to launch one. But speaking to Reuters on Thursday, Chief Executive Akbar Al Baker said a cargo 777X was now on the table as the airline ponders a freighter order from Boeing or Airbus (AIR.PA).

The only significant change since then is AAB has ruled out buying A350F.
 
Gremlinzzzz
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Re: Qatar Airways has grounded 13 A350’s at the request of the Qatar Aviation regulator

Wed Dec 01, 2021 5:39 am

JetBuddy wrote:
Either Airbus completely FUBARed the handling of this issue, or there is another side of the story we're not hearing about.

It could also be that Al Baker's demands are completely unreasonable, as other airlines experiencing similar issues are still flying them. It would not be the first time.
That the issue exists among other airlines means that this is an Airbus issue. They should have never let it drag this long or let it get to a point where the customer was arguing their case in public. Customer care 101.

I also do not see why AAB would be unreasonable. There is degradation that was not expected this soon on planes that were sold on the premise that they would need even less maintenance. This is more, not less and the client does not want to be the one to shoulder that bill. Could you ever blame them? I wouldn't.

Airbus needs to come up with a solution in the near term, and then work on a long term fix that solves the issue once and for all. In a competitive environment where there might be five maybe 6 different OEM's in the same market segment, this would not have happened.

Personally, I am happy that Qatar Airways is sticking to their guns and voting with the wallet. We need more of this, not less.
 
jbs2886
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Re: Qatar Airways has grounded 13 A350’s at the request of the Qatar Aviation regulator

Wed Dec 01, 2021 6:19 am

bikerthai wrote:
Anyone who bought a new car can relate.

Sure, the paint is bubbling around the fender. Just take it in and they will repaint it. It is under warranty.

O.K. you take the afternoon off from work to drop it off at the dealer, and next week you take another afternoon off to pick it up.

Mean while, you ask yourself, what's going to happen when the warranty runs out? Cause you know its going to happen again down the road.

Maybe its time to sell it off and get a different model

bt


Just deciding to decommission a dozen aircraft (or the entire fleet if they have similar issues) and buy new replacements isn’t a light decision and is extremely costly. Is that what you’re suggesting? QR is right to seek compensation if it is an Airbus issue. This isn’t like a car warranty whatsoever, in addition you’re assuming the “warranty” has run out, but it’s about an alleged/potential manufacturing defect on an aircraft QR has dozens of in service and on order - and important Airbus customer. Your car dealer and manufacturer don’t care about you - Airbus and Boeing have to care about their large customers.
 
jbs2886
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Re: Qatar Airways has grounded 13 A350’s at the request of the Qatar Aviation regulator

Wed Dec 01, 2021 6:23 am

Gremlinzzzz wrote:
JetBuddy wrote:
Either Airbus completely FUBARed the handling of this issue, or there is another side of the story we're not hearing about.

It could also be that Al Baker's demands are completely unreasonable, as other airlines experiencing similar issues are still flying them. It would not be the first time.
That the issue exists among other airlines means that this is an Airbus issue. They should have never let it drag this long or let it get to a point where the customer was arguing their case in public. Customer care 101.

I also do not see why AAB would be unreasonable. There is degradation that was not expected this soon on planes that were sold on the premise that they would need even less maintenance. This is more, not less and the client does not want to be the one to shoulder that bill. Could you ever blame them? I wouldn't.

Airbus needs to come up with a solution in the near term, and then work on a long term fix that solves the issue once and for all. In a competitive environment where there might be five maybe 6 different OEM's in the same market segment, this would not have happened.

Personally, I am happy that Qatar Airways is sticking to their guns and voting with the wallet. We need more of this, not less.


Well the other airlines haven’t pulled the aircraft from service and AAB has a reputation for his bombastic comments and unreasonable nature. That being said, I don’t know enough to know whose fault it is, I’m not sure anyone on this forum does despite a few people constantly defending Airbus (and a few in the reverse). My point is, your premise on other airlines and AAB is faulty, but I do agree there seems to be an issue, it’s just is it severe such that it does affect airworthiness and, if so, is it an Airbus issue.
 
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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

Wed Dec 01, 2021 6:48 am

There is a situation beyond "has the warranty run out?" which is "was the design and production fit for purpose?". Dangerous territory for a manufacturer.
 
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Re: Qatar Airways has grounded 13 A350’s at the request of the Qatar Aviation regulator

Wed Dec 01, 2021 7:07 am

jbs2886 wrote:
I do agree there seems to be an issue, it’s just is it severe such that it does affect airworthiness and, if so, is it an Airbus issue.


Aircraft Manufactures are liable and responsible for a lot of stuff long before it affects airworthiness.

It's Airbus's issue as QR is not responsible for the surface layer(s) of the epoxy in the CFRP sandwich failing by normal use of the aircraft.
 
sfojvjets
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Re: Qatar Airways has grounded 13 A350’s at the request of the Qatar Aviation regulator

Wed Dec 01, 2021 7:48 am

AAB does indeed have a history of making colorful comments. But the fact that Airbus knew about these issues since 2016 when Finnair first reported them is shocking. And also, these further revelations of other carriers encountering problems shows that Guillaume Faury was lying through his teeth when he said QR was the only carrier experiencing this. One would think they could have learned from Boeing's fatal missteps regarding safety and transparency... I guess not.

It also makes sense that QR is the most affected by this. Going from 100F-degree Doha to -40F or even -70F between 30k and 40k feet in a matter of minutes has to be a large factor. And of course, QR flies their 350s on missions all the way up to 16, 17 hours...

Air Caraïbes, Finnair, Etihad, Cathay, and Lufthansa... the first 4 (plus QR) definitely "live" in somewhat extreme environments....humid and wet for TX & CX, freezing for AY, dry and hot for EY & QR. I just don't understand why Lufthansa is on here, since they (I think?) operate in one of the more stable environments, and I also don't understand why Singapore isn't on here. Hot, humid, wet, and ULH.... SQ is basically the QR of the southeast and vice versa, yet only one seems to be seeing issues despite there being merely a couple years between the delivery of both airlines' first 350s.
 
Jomar777
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Re: Qatar Airways has grounded 13 A350’s at the request of the Qatar Aviation regulator

Wed Dec 01, 2021 8:20 am

jbs2886 wrote:
Gremlinzzzz wrote:
JetBuddy wrote:
Either Airbus completely FUBARed the handling of this issue, or there is another side of the story we're not hearing about.

It could also be that Al Baker's demands are completely unreasonable, as other airlines experiencing similar issues are still flying them. It would not be the first time.
That the issue exists among other airlines means that this is an Airbus issue. They should have never let it drag this long or let it get to a point where the customer was arguing their case in public. Customer care 101.

I also do not see why AAB would be unreasonable. There is degradation that was not expected this soon on planes that were sold on the premise that they would need even less maintenance. This is more, not less and the client does not want to be the one to shoulder that bill. Could you ever blame them? I wouldn't.

Airbus needs to come up with a solution in the near term, and then work on a long term fix that solves the issue once and for all. In a competitive environment where there might be five maybe 6 different OEM's in the same market segment, this would not have happened.

Personally, I am happy that Qatar Airways is sticking to their guns and voting with the wallet. We need more of this, not less.


Well the other airlines haven’t pulled the aircraft from service and AAB has a reputation for his bombastic comments and unreasonable nature. That being said, I don’t know enough to know whose fault it is, I’m not sure anyone on this forum does despite a few people constantly defending Airbus (and a few in the reverse). My point is, your premise on other airlines and AAB is faulty, but I do agree there seems to be an issue, it’s just is it severe such that it does affect airworthiness and, if so, is it an Airbus issue.


Maybe other airlines have indeed reported the issue but we might not know since Reuters might not have access to all data. Also, on the issue of pulling out frames, Qatar Airways is well placed since it has quite a good deal of spare capacity since just now is recovering from the past blockade which canned quite a good deal of demanding services, But is also has now COVID19 to deal with so it is not flying full capacity. Other airlines might not have the spare capacity at the moment to pull out their flagship airline out of service.

Also, take Finnair, for example. Launch customer of the A350 in Europe. They heavily advertised this and continue to do so. Imagine them going all AAB's and splashing out in the press. It would "do wonders" for their service and Brand. It is also not in the Finnish nature to do so. Lufthansa & Air France? They are so close to their own Governments, which in turn, support heavily Airbus, that I would be really surprised they would go public.

The one I am wondering and has been rather quiet is IAG (BA and IB). They fly some very interesting routes with their A350s (Europe to Middle East and South America) and have not said anything.

I am sure there's a lot happening on the surroundings of Teams, Zoom, Boardrooms, etc, that we may not know of at present.
 
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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

Wed Dec 01, 2021 12:44 pm

Jomar777 wrote:
Maybe other airlines have indeed reported the issue


I've seen this type of reaction before.

Some airlines are more stickler on cosmetic issues than others. Some airlines are more ameable to composite repair than others.

In the past, UAL did not complain much about composite repair, they do it regularly and have facilities to do it.

Southwest hates composite repair and complained enough that Boeing had to make the 737 NG fan cowl metallic instead of composite (added weight).

It is probably the same in this case. Lufthansa may be just repairing them routinely without squawking just as what Zeke said. Finnair is too small to make waves. And QR is just using it as a bargaining chip.

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

Wed Dec 01, 2021 2:25 pm

bikerthai wrote:
And QR is just using it as a bargaining chip.


I take that back. QA is being grounded because of their regulator.

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

Wed Dec 01, 2021 2:47 pm

Revelation wrote:
WayexTDI wrote:
What's his alternative? Order a yet-to-be-offered variant of a yet-to-be-certified plane?

Since he's ruled out A350F, yes, that's the alternative.

https://www.reuters.com/business/aerosp ... 021-06-03/ is pretty informative, it seems QR and Boeing have been talking about 77XF since June.

ST PETERSBURG, Russia, June 3 (Reuters) - Qatar Airways is weighing a multibillion-dollar investment with a potential order for 30 or more freighters, attracting interest from Boeing Co (BA.N), which has begun offering a freighter version of its future 777X jetliner, the airline's chief executive said.

In April, the Gulf carrier said it was interested in a 777X freighter but had not been told by Boeing of any plans to launch one. But speaking to Reuters on Thursday, Chief Executive Akbar Al Baker said a cargo 777X was now on the table as the airline ponders a freighter order from Boeing or Airbus (AIR.PA).

The only significant change since then is AAB has ruled out buying A350F.

Until there is something he doesn't like in the 777X/777XF and goes back to Airbus; and the cycle will repeat.
 
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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 Dec 01, 2021 3:19 pm

WayexTDI wrote:
Revelation wrote:
The only significant change since then is AAB has ruled out buying A350F.

Until there is something he doesn't like in the 777X/777XF and goes back to Airbus; and the cycle will repeat.

He complained about the tiles in the galley floor of the A380 (not the carpet) and ended up taking them once the problem was addressed, he didn't go buy 747-8i instead. He did dump PW GTF for CFM on A320neo ( ref: https://simpleflying.com/qatar-airbus-a320neo-engines/ ) but IMO that was quite justified.

I feel bad for Airbus in this difficult situation, but also am having a hard time finding any reference to where they've said anything to address his concerns until this recent go-around, whereas this thread has been open for more than three months. Now after reports from multiple airlines he feels justified in saying that Airbus has been blaming him for a situation that Airbus created. It's an ugly situation.

bikerthai wrote:
Anyone who bought a new car can relate.

Sure, the paint is bubbling around the fender. Just take it in and they will repaint it. It is under warranty.

O.K. you take the afternoon off from work to drop it off at the dealer, and next week you take another afternoon off to pick it up.

Mean while, you ask yourself, what's going to happen when the warranty runs out? Cause you know its going to happen again down the road.

Maybe its time to sell it off and get a different model

bt

As mentioned earlier, I've dealt with gliders with carbon and glass for a while. They all get put into trailers or hangars at the end of the day to protect their surfaces. I was kind of surprised when airliners went to similar materials since they would not be hangared much if at all. Then I realized Airbus in particular had been doing CFRP since the A300 and figured they had solved the protection issue. Thus it's a disappointment to have the current failures. As mentioned above, maybe some "cost optimization" has impacted either the paint or the aircraft's materials, since we don't hear of issues with A300 or A380 tail sections.
 
FluidFlow
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Re: Qatar Airways has grounded 13 A350’s at the request of the Qatar Aviation regulator

Wed Dec 01, 2021 3:42 pm

One thing I still cant get my head around is, that other airlines like Lufthansa and Finnair had similar problems happening years ago, and most probably are still happening to some degree in other fleets too if the problem is systemic, what it seems to be. All this airlines managed to keep their aircraft flying and must have used some maintenance to keep the aircraft airworthy.

On the other side we have Qatar that has them since the beginning and only lately the problem occurred out of nowhere when they sent one aircraft for repaint (they seem not even have noticed it, only when it was in the paint shop they saw it). And then out of the blue all of them showed the problem when they finally had a look at it?

It is almost as if Qatar had the aircraft flying without actually looking at them until it was too late and now they demand compensation for something that would have been a small maintenance and paint job a few years ago (and of course one that would have reoccurred a bit more frequent than expected) but that Airbus seems to have happily compensated (or at least would have found a solution) as it did with all the other operators that had the type flying and had the problems as early as in the middle of the last decade.
 
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Re: Qatar Airways has grounded 13 A350’s at the request of the Qatar Aviation regulator

Wed Dec 01, 2021 3:51 pm

FluidFlow wrote:
It is almost as if Qatar had the aircraft flying without actually looking at them until it was too late and now they demand compensation for something that would have been a small maintenance and paint job a few years ago


There are multiple talking points/threads here. The paint issue - which is technical. The grounding - which is regulatory (some may argue that QR influences their regulatory agency, but that is some what cynical). And there is the hard core negotiation tactic.

The different airlines are impacted by these three threads differently.

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

Wed Dec 01, 2021 3:57 pm

Revelation wrote:
I was kind of surprised when airliners went to similar materials since they would not be hangared much if at all. Then I realized Airbus in particular had been doing CFRP since the A300 and figured they had solved the protection issue.


They use much more expensive paint ;)

Revelation wrote:
As mentioned above, maybe some "cost optimization" has impacted either the paint or the aircraft's materials, since we don't hear of issues with A300 or A380 tail sections.


Searching the internet, I found some info on composite lightning strike protection that does not involve the fiberglass top layer protection. I wonder if this is what we are seeing cause I do not see any fiberglass in the cracking layers in the photos. Fiberglass plies delaminate, they don't crack like that.

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

Wed Dec 01, 2021 3:58 pm

From the Reuter article “ LONDON/PARIS, Nov 30 (Reuters) - The head of Qatar Airways on Tuesday called on Airbus to admit that it had a problem with flaws on the surface of its A350 jets and ruled out buying freighter planes from the European company, effectively handing a potential deal to rival Boeing (BA.N).”


Then we look back at what Airbus said when this alll started

“ 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.””

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

So Airbus has said in there statement that there were surface irregularities, they said “ 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”

So they have gone from having an agreement with Airbus over this, to the point where AAB is saying Airbus has not acknowledged anything.

Things dont stack up.
 
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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

Wed Dec 01, 2021 4:04 pm

zeke wrote:
From the Reuter article “ LONDON/PARIS, Nov 30 (Reuters) - The head of Qatar Airways on Tuesday called on Airbus to admit that it had a problem with flaws on the surface of its A350 jets and ruled out buying freighter planes from the European company, effectively handing a potential deal to rival Boeing (BA.N).”


Then we look back at what Airbus said when this alll started

“ 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.””

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

So Airbus has said in there statement that there were surface irregularities, they said “ 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”

So they have gone from having an agreement with Airbus over this, to the point where AAB is saying Airbus has not acknowledged anything.

Things dont stack up.

What QR means is they want Airbus to admit that the problem is Airbus’s fault and acknowledge that this is a production issue.
 
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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

Wed Dec 01, 2021 4:05 pm

FluidFlow wrote:
One thing I still cant get my head around is, that other airlines like Lufthansa and Finnair had similar problems happening years ago, and most probably are still happening to some degree in other fleets too if the problem is systemic, what it seems to be. All this airlines managed to keep their aircraft flying and must have used some maintenance to keep the aircraft airworthy.

On the other side we have Qatar that has them since the beginning and only lately the problem occurred out of nowhere when they sent one aircraft for repaint (they seem not even have noticed it, only when it was in the paint shop they saw it). And then out of the blue all of them showed the problem when they finally had a look at it?

It is almost as if Qatar had the aircraft flying without actually looking at them until it was too late and now they demand compensation for something that would have been a small maintenance and paint job a few years ago (and of course one that would have reoccurred a bit more frequent than expected) but that Airbus seems to have happily compensated (or at least would have found a solution) as it did with all the other operators that had the type flying and had the problems as early as in the middle of the last decade.

So we now know that other airlines have seen similar issues over the years, but because it was not reported publicly we said Qatar and their spoke persons were blowing smoke.
Based on past and current history, why would you assume that Qatar saw the problem months ago and said nothing, I would think it would be fair to assume that they did mention it to Airbus and as they got no satisfactory resolution, they went further by going public. One may start to speculate as to why smaller carriers made no more noise, were they just quietly cheering Qatar from the sidelines or just hoping they would keep quiet so that no one would know they had similar problems, or maybe they were just afraid, who knows, but now that we know others have the same problems, the plot thickens.
 
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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

Wed Dec 01, 2021 4:41 pm

One major A350 operator not mentioned is DL. I realize many of their A350's are newer than QR's, but I find it interesting. Also, as someone said, no mention of SQ.
 
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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

Wed Dec 01, 2021 4:48 pm

ElroyJetson wrote:
One major A350 operator not mentioned is DL. I realize many of their A350's are newer than QR's, but I find it interesting. Also, as someone said, no mention of SQ.

Unlikely that we will ever hear anything from DL unless it is leaked or there is sometime type of fix and we learn it has been applied to DL aircraft. DL doesn’t publicly bash aircraft (unless it’s something like the A380 which they would never have an interest in) and play the OEMs off each other in that style.
 
Opus99
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Re: Qatar Airways has grounded 13 A350’s at the request of the Qatar Aviation regulator

Wed Dec 01, 2021 4:50 pm

ElroyJetson wrote:
One major A350 operator not mentioned is DL. I realize many of their A350's are newer than QR's, but I find it interesting. Also, as someone said, no mention of SQ.

They may have complained but we don’t know or Reuters has no proof?

The situation is changing quickly now.

From airbus denying the problem saying it’s a sole issue to now it being a matter of they’re finding a fix, So we might see more come to the surface?
 
Pelly
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Re: Qatar Airways has grounded 13 A350’s at the request of the Qatar Aviation regulator

Wed Dec 01, 2021 4:51 pm

zeke wrote:

Things dont stack up.


What doesn't stack up is people initially framing it as a one off and an issue caused by the paint stripping (you can go back earlier in the thread). In your quote Airbus acknowledged there was a surface degradation issue but the issue was blamed on the paint stripping, a one off thing on one aircraft. The problem was more widespread than that.

What doesn't stack up is some of the speculation like QR grounding the aircraft because of them not wanting to pay the leases on their grounded A350s, while still not triggering the lessors to re-posses the aircraft AND at the same time lease in additional cheaper aircraft from the SAME lessor as that of some of the grounded A350s. It must be a very naive and forgiving lessor. What doesn't stack up is saying there isn't an issue when we have quotes from Airbus that they are investigating a different mesh design to avoid this issue.
Last edited by Pelly on Wed Dec 01, 2021 4:54 pm, edited 1 time in total.
 
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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

Wed Dec 01, 2021 4:54 pm

zeke wrote:
they have gone from having an agreement with Airbus over this, to the point where AAB is saying Airbus has not acknowledged anything


Well, my lawer hat reads the agreement was for the flight to Toulouse for evaluation only. The "agreement" would be OBD when the regulatory agency grounded the planes.

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

Wed Dec 01, 2021 5:19 pm

I think its important to have a bit more detailed readings of the recent articles.

- Some posters asked how come other airlines fixed and moved on, its possible that the extent of the issue is different between different operators due to different operating conditions. Airbus itself is quoted in the Reuters saying "said some airlines were subject to higher swings in temperatures than others, apparently referring, for example, to desert conditions in Qatar.". The article also has this quote: "Three people with direct knowledge of the situation said that at Qatar Airways and at least one other airline the mesh had in some instances itself developed gaps, leaving the carbon-fibre fuselage exposed to possible weather or other damage.". Even though SIN is hot, max temperatures in DOH are significantly higher and with much less cloud cover, QR also operates lots of short sectors between the long haul flights racking up more cycles than the typical European operators.

- Some posters are questioning why QR left the aircraft reach this state or have not taken action earlier. Just because there was no media coverage earlier doesn't mean the issue wasn't dealt with earlier or that no minor repairs or actions were taken earlier before the issue got worst. The turning point was the first aircraft to be stripped of paint because the extent of the issue was apparent then.

- Airbus itself says they are looking at a long term fix "On Monday, Airbus confirmed it was looking at updating the lightning system to a more flexible material called Perforated Copper Foil, a move first reported by Reuters." and "Using perforated copper foil instead of the current expanded copper foil is one possibility as Airbus works with the European Union Aviation Safety Agency, on solutions, Schaffrath said Monday." the matter is not yet concluded and investigations into the issue are still ongoing according to Airbus “Some dimensions of the issue are still being investigated,” Schaffrath said.

- This quote is important to understand QR's mindset "It is a serious matter; we don't know if it is an airworthiness issue; we also don't know that it is not an airworthiness issue. The real cause of it has not been established by Airbus".. Yes QR can repair and repaint, but if the issue is indeed caused by the expansion of the copper mesh then the issue will re-appear again.


Sources for the quotes:

https://www.reuters.com/business/aerosp ... 021-11-30/
https://www.reuters.com/business/aerosp ... 021-11-29/
https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles ... r-air-rift
https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles ... ghter-coup
 
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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 Dec 01, 2021 5:51 pm

Opus99 wrote:
So we might see more come to the surface?

I see what you did there... :silly:
 
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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

Wed Dec 01, 2021 5:56 pm

Going back to the published photos, they may have been taken after a lot of investigatory prodding and poking. We should not deduce that QR was flying an aircraft around in that visible condition .

Regarding DL, they must be content that the ex-LATAM frames they are acquiring are sound regarding these issues.
 
Opus99
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Re: Qatar Airways has grounded 13 A350’s at the request of the Qatar Aviation regulator

Wed Dec 01, 2021 6:06 pm

Revelation wrote:
Opus99 wrote:
So we might see more come to the surface?

I see what you did there... :silly:

Would you believe me if I told you it wasn’t intentional :lol:
 
jbs2886
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Re: Qatar Airways has grounded 13 A350’s at the request of the Qatar Aviation regulator

Wed Dec 01, 2021 6:18 pm

bikerthai wrote:
Some airlines are more stickler on cosmetic issues than others.


You're missing the entire point if you call this a cosmetic issue.
 
9Patch
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Re: Qatar Airways has grounded 13 A350’s at the request of the Qatar Aviation regulator

Wed Dec 01, 2021 6:26 pm

zeke wrote:
From the Reuter article “ LONDON/PARIS, Nov 30 (Reuters) - The head of Qatar Airways on Tuesday called on Airbus to admit that it had a problem with flaws on the surface of its A350 jets and ruled out buying freighter planes from the European company, effectively handing a potential deal to rival Boeing (BA.N).”


Then we look back at what Airbus said when this alll started

“ 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.””

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

So Airbus has said in there statement that there were surface irregularities, they said “ 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”

So they have gone from having an agreement with Airbus over this, to the point where AAB is saying Airbus has not acknowledged anything.

Things dont stack up.


The article you linked to is nearly a year old and is about just one A350. Now there are many more A350s affected and the photos don't look like the issue is only visible when the top coat of paint is stripped.

Image
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

Wed Dec 01, 2021 6:30 pm

jbs2886 wrote:
bikerthai wrote:
Some airlines are more stickler on cosmetic issues than others.


You're missing the entire point if you call this a cosmetic issue.


A further reading of what I wrote would clearly show that I agree that this is more complex than just cosmetic.

Doesn't make my comment incorrect about some airlines and cosmetics. :biting:

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

Wed Dec 01, 2021 6:32 pm

Pelly wrote:
I think its important to have a bit more detailed readings of the recent articles.

- Some posters asked how come other airlines fixed and moved on, its possible that the extent of the issue is different between different operators due to different operating conditions. Airbus itself is quoted in the Reuters saying "said some airlines were subject to higher swings in temperatures than others, apparently referring, for example, to desert conditions in Qatar.". The article also has this quote: "Three people with direct knowledge of the situation said that at Qatar Airways and at least one other airline the mesh had in some instances itself developed gaps, leaving the carbon-fibre fuselage exposed to possible weather or other damage.". Even though SIN is hot, max temperatures in DOH are significantly higher and with much less cloud cover, QR also operates lots of short sectors between the long haul flights racking up more cycles than the typical European operators.

- Some posters are questioning why QR left the aircraft reach this state or have not taken action earlier. Just because there was no media coverage earlier doesn't mean the issue wasn't dealt with earlier or that no minor repairs or actions were taken earlier before the issue got worst. The turning point was the first aircraft to be stripped of paint because the extent of the issue was apparent then.

- Airbus itself says they are looking at a long term fix "On Monday, Airbus confirmed it was looking at updating the lightning system to a more flexible material called Perforated Copper Foil, a move first reported by Reuters." and "Using perforated copper foil instead of the current expanded copper foil is one possibility as Airbus works with the European Union Aviation Safety Agency, on solutions, Schaffrath said Monday." the matter is not yet concluded and investigations into the issue are still ongoing according to Airbus “Some dimensions of the issue are still being investigated,” Schaffrath said.

- This quote is important to understand QR's mindset "It is a serious matter; we don't know if it is an airworthiness issue; we also don't know that it is not an airworthiness issue. The real cause of it has not been established by Airbus".. Yes QR can repair and repaint, but if the issue is indeed caused by the expansion of the copper mesh then the issue will re-appear again.


Sources for the quotes:

https://www.reuters.com/business/aerosp ... 021-11-30/
https://www.reuters.com/business/aerosp ... 021-11-29/
https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles ... r-air-rift
https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles ... ghter-coup


Good post.

And yet we are looking at a situation where everybody else keeps flying the A350 despite having somewhat similar issues, and the only regulator grounding it is in Qatar. Al Baker is known to be a "difficult customer", and sometimes unreasonable.

There is more to this story.
 
majano
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Re: Qatar Airways has grounded 13 A350’s at the request of the Qatar Aviation regulator

Wed Dec 01, 2021 7:20 pm

Qatar has gone to the press with non-flattering images of its aircraft and private messages between Airbus and its customers in order to prove a point. And some people claim they feel sorry for Airbus!
 
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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

Wed Dec 01, 2021 7:22 pm

Pelly wrote:
I think its important to have a bit more detailed readings of the recent articles.

- Some posters asked how come other airlines fixed and moved on, its possible that the extent of the issue is different between different operators due to different operating conditions. Airbus itself is quoted in the Reuters saying "said some airlines were subject to higher swings in temperatures than others, apparently referring, for example, to desert conditions in Qatar.". The article also has this quote: "Three people with direct knowledge of the situation said that at Qatar Airways and at least one other airline the mesh had in some instances itself developed gaps, leaving the carbon-fibre fuselage exposed to possible weather or other damage.". Even though SIN is hot, max temperatures in DOH are significantly higher and with much less cloud cover, QR also operates lots of short sectors between the long haul flights racking up more cycles than the typical European operators.

- Some posters are questioning why QR left the aircraft reach this state or have not taken action earlier. Just because there was no media coverage earlier doesn't mean the issue wasn't dealt with earlier or that no minor repairs or actions were taken earlier before the issue got worst. The turning point was the first aircraft to be stripped of paint because the extent of the issue was apparent then.

- Airbus itself says they are looking at a long term fix "On Monday, Airbus confirmed it was looking at updating the lightning system to a more flexible material called Perforated Copper Foil, a move first reported by Reuters." and "Using perforated copper foil instead of the current expanded copper foil is one possibility as Airbus works with the European Union Aviation Safety Agency, on solutions, Schaffrath said Monday." the matter is not yet concluded and investigations into the issue are still ongoing according to Airbus “Some dimensions of the issue are still being investigated,” Schaffrath said.

- This quote is important to understand QR's mindset "It is a serious matter; we don't know if it is an airworthiness issue; we also don't know that it is not an airworthiness issue. The real cause of it has not been established by Airbus".. Yes QR can repair and repaint, but if the issue is indeed caused by the expansion of the copper mesh then the issue will re-appear again.


Sources for the quotes:

https://www.reuters.com/business/aerosp ... 021-11-30/
https://www.reuters.com/business/aerosp ... 021-11-29/
https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles ... r-air-rift
https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles ... ghter-coup




Thanks for the excellent summary. What is troubling to me is the outright disinformation campaign waged by the OEM and others. The impressions given are as follows based on either direct statements or by inference. If any of my impressions are inaccurate please correct.

1. Initially, the implication was this problem only affected one aircraft and was the result of paint stripping.

2. Direct statements were made stating only QR was experiencing any problems. Per the Reuters article we now know this was a materially false statement. The issue has been known to the OEM since at least 2016, and it affects multiple operators.

3. The initial characterization was this was simply a paint issue. We now know per the Reuters article on some aircraft the underlying copper mesh used for lightning mitigation has been affected, and additionally, protective coatings are gone and the CFRP fuselage is fully exposed to the elements on some aircraft.

4. This issue first came to the public's attention in November 2020. Airbus did not publicly acknowledged there may be a problem with the underlying copper mesh until very recently, and they are now saying they are looking at different materials as well as a long term solution to the problem.
 
Lootess
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Re: Qatar Airways has grounded 13 A350’s at the request of the Qatar Aviation regulator

Wed Dec 01, 2021 7:27 pm

9Patch wrote:
zeke wrote:
From the Reuter article “ LONDON/PARIS, Nov 30 (Reuters) - The head of Qatar Airways on Tuesday called on Airbus to admit that it had a problem with flaws on the surface of its A350 jets and ruled out buying freighter planes from the European company, effectively handing a potential deal to rival Boeing (BA.N).”


Then we look back at what Airbus said when this alll started

“ 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.””

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

So Airbus has said in there statement that there were surface irregularities, they said “ 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”

So they have gone from having an agreement with Airbus over this, to the point where AAB is saying Airbus has not acknowledged anything.

Things dont stack up.


The article you linked to is nearly a year old and is about just one A350. Now there are many more A350s affected and the photos don't look like the issue is only visible when the top coat of paint is stripped.

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


In one of the QR pictures it looks like they tried to manually re-paint over some titanium rivets that were cracking. Problem likely lies somewhere between the extreme temperature swings throughout the year at these airline hubs and the expanded copper foil. Maybe even the paint's less-ideal adhesion to titanium. It sure is a complicated issue because changes to the foil structure probably adds weight.

Knowing AAB, they like perfection and any damage to the foil was likely the straw that made his regulator queasy. You ever see how clean everything is that has the Qatar Airways branding on it? He's the kind of person that'll notice a wrinkle on your uniform.
 
emre787
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Re: Qatar Airways has grounded 13 A350’s at the request of the Qatar Aviation regulator

Wed Dec 01, 2021 7:30 pm

majano wrote:
Qatar has gone to the press with non-flattering images of its aircraft and private messages between Airbus and its customers in order to prove a point. And some people claim they feel sorry for Airbus!


Can only agree! After all, this was the only option QR was left with to prove themselves right and it was definitely the best move they could have made in my opinion
 
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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 Dec 01, 2021 9:13 pm

I do feel sorry for Airbus. I suppose it could be because I've had a career in high tech, and working with angry customers is just fraught with challenges. Also, the time, money and talent they're applying to this problem almost certainly could be getting applied to something more useful to the world of aviation. We don't have any evidence of malice or incompetence, even if some are willing to offer conjecture along those lines.

If I had to guess, it seems to me Airbus tried a solution to the problem of lightening protection, and it is not working out. Reminds me of the situation with RR where they tried new coatings on T1000 blades and it didn't work out. You can't test a product for an entire generation before you start selling it, you have to study the trends and then go with your best guess on the long term durability. If you guess wrong, it's an expensive situation to resolve.

As I understand it we have the early quote from Airbus saying it was an issue with paint and protection, and since then they've gone silent and let EASA do the talking, except till now with the comments on perforated foil. I suppose they could have been more communicative, but again, it's hard to be communicative without sounding like you're contradicting an important customer. It's a no-win situation.

I think we know the pictures are of QR airplanes, but we don't know for a fact if it is QR who leaked the pictures, or if it was QR that gave Reuters access to the proprietary A350 message board system. It's a good guess, but there could be other actors who now want that information to be public.

I think the early paint peeling failure mode could have been observed, then the QR ship was sent for paint, then the bare lightening protection was encountered, then the plane was sent back to TLS, and since then Airbus has gone silent. There probably been has a private back-and-forth about if the issue should have been addressed by QR earlier via routine maintenance since the problem is not being widely seen, or if there is an underlying issue with the lightening protection. I think things are coming around to the idea that the root cause is the different coefficient of expansion of the underlying CFRP vs the lightening protection, but as AAB says, Airbus has not yet confirmed that is the root cause.

Overall I feel a rush to judgment without all the facts in evidence. It doesn't hurt to let things play out a bit more, IMO.
 
Cardude2
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Re: Qatar Airways has grounded 13 A350’s at the request of the Qatar Aviation regulator

Wed Dec 01, 2021 10:23 pm

Revelation wrote:
I do feel sorry for Airbus. I suppose it could be because I've had a career in high tech, and working with angry customers is just fraught with challenges. Also, the time, money and talent they're applying to this problem almost certainly could be getting applied to something more useful to the world of aviation. We don't have any evidence of malice or incompetence, even if some are willing to offer conjecture along those lines.

If I had to guess, it seems to me Airbus tried a solution to the problem of lightening protection, and it is not working out. Reminds me of the situation with RR where they tried new coatings on T1000 blades and it didn't work out. You can't test a product for an entire generation before you start selling it, you have to study the trends and then go with your best guess on the long term durability. If you guess wrong, it's an expensive situation to resolve.

As I understand it we have the early quote from Airbus saying it was an issue with paint and protection, and since then they've gone silent and let EASA do the talking, except till now with the comments on perforated foil. I suppose they could have been more communicative, but again, it's hard to be communicative without sounding like you're contradicting an important customer. It's a no-win situation.

I think we know the pictures are of QR airplanes, but we don't know for a fact if it is QR who leaked the pictures, or if it was QR that gave Reuters access to the proprietary A350 message board system. It's a good guess, but there could be other actors who now want that information to be public.

I think the early paint peeling failure mode could have been observed, then the QR ship was sent for paint, then the bare lightening protection was encountered, then the plane was sent back to TLS, and since then Airbus has gone silent. There probably been has a private back-and-forth about if the issue should have been addressed by QR earlier via routine maintenance since the problem is not being widely seen, or if there is an underlying issue with the lightening protection. I think things are coming around to the idea that the root cause is the different coefficient of expansion of the underlying CFRP vs the lightening protection, but as AAB says, Airbus has not yet confirmed that is the root cause.

Overall I feel a rush to judgment without all the facts in evidence. It doesn't hurt to let things play out a bit more, IMO.


that is a great insight, thanks
 
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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

Wed Dec 01, 2021 11:20 pm

Revelation wrote:
I do feel sorry for Airbus. I suppose it could be because I've had a career in high tech, and working with angry customers is just fraught with challenges. Also, the time, money and talent they're applying to this problem almost certainly could be getting applied to something more useful to the world of aviation. We don't have any evidence of malice or incompetence, even if some are willing to offer conjecture along those lines.

If I had to guess, it seems to me Airbus tried a solution to the problem of lightening protection, and it is not working out. Reminds me of the situation with RR where they tried new coatings on T1000 blades and it didn't work out. You can't test a product for an entire generation before you start selling it, you have to study the trends and then go with your best guess on the long term durability. If you guess wrong, it's an expensive situation to resolve.

As I understand it we have the early quote from Airbus saying it was an issue with paint and protection, and since then they've gone silent and let EASA do the talking, except till now with the comments on perforated foil. I suppose they could have been more communicative, but again, it's hard to be communicative without sounding like you're contradicting an important customer. It's a no-win situation.

I think we know the pictures are of QR airplanes, but we don't know for a fact if it is QR who leaked the pictures, or if it was QR that gave Reuters access to the proprietary A350 message board system. It's a good guess, but there could be other actors who now want that information to be public.

I think the early paint peeling failure mode could have been observed, then the QR ship was sent for paint, then the bare lightening protection was encountered, then the plane was sent back to TLS, and since then Airbus has gone silent. There probably been has a private back-and-forth about if the issue should have been addressed by QR earlier via routine maintenance since the problem is not being widely seen, or if there is an underlying issue with the lightening protection. I think things are coming around to the idea that the root cause is the different coefficient of expansion of the underlying CFRP vs the lightening protection, but as AAB says, Airbus has not yet confirmed that is the root cause.

Overall I feel a rush to judgment without all the facts in evidence. It doesn't hurt to let things play out a bit more, IMO.



In my experience in business, it is always better to get out ahead of a major problem versus saying nothing and allowing it to fester. I completely understand the need to not go public. But good communication with major customers is a must. The lack of good communication is often the cause of misunderstandings and resentment, and ultimately disgruntled and lost customers.

QR has gone public for a reason. The assumption their CEO is a prima donna with malicious or nefarious motives is just as unfair as assuming Airbus purposefully created the problem. At this point, my hope is a solution is quickly found and these issues can be resolved.
 
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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

Wed Dec 01, 2021 11:27 pm

Polot wrote:
What QR means is they want Airbus to admit that the problem is Airbus’s fault and acknowledge that this is a production issue.


Of course, how the airframes are used and maintenance have never been a factor raised by the operator.

par13del wrote:
Based on past and current history, why would you assume that Qatar saw the problem months ago and said nothing


There is no evidence in the public domain to support QR went to Airbus prior to the aircraft repaint in Ireland.

Opus99 wrote:
From airbus denying the problem saying it’s a sole issue to now it being a matter of they’re finding a fix, So we might see more come to the surface?


Read the statement again Airbus made after they inspected the aircraft in Ireland during repaint, they did say there were irregularities .

Pelly wrote:
What doesn't stack up is people initially framing it as a one off and an issue caused by the paint stripping


It was a one off issue at the time, that QR aircraft being painted in Ireland was not the first A350 to get painted. There is also no evidence QR raised the issue prior to the paint shop raising it.

Pelly wrote:
What doesn't stack up is some of the speculation like QR grounding the aircraft because of them not wanting to pay the leases on their grounded A350s


You also missed the bit about also having a reason not to take contractural delivery of their other A350 aircraft.

9Patch wrote:
The article you linked to is nearly a year old and is about just one A350. Now there are many more A350s affected and the photos don't look like the issue is only visible when the top coat of paint is stripped.


If you look at the other photos I can see fastener heads that have been previously addressed and others that have been let go. What has changed in their procedures from addressing these issues when discovered.

Opus99 wrote:
From airbus denying the problem


Did Airbus say that ? AAB has said that, but the Airbus statement made after the aircraft paint discovery in Ireland did say there were irregularities. They did not say there was nothing there, or there was no issue.

ElroyJetson wrote:
3. The initial characterization was this was simply a paint issue. We now know per the Reuters article on some aircraft the underlying copper mesh used for lightning mitigation has been affected, and additionally, protective coatings are gone and the CFRP fuselage is fully exposed to the elements on some aircraft.


Everything from the CFRP to the outer polyurethane film would be considered as being part of the paint maintenance task. Paint includes fillers, epoxy coatings, and polyurethane livery. I have provided the UAE definition of that on the previous page.

Lootess wrote:
In one of the QR pictures it looks like they tried to manually re-paint over some titanium rivets that were cracking.


That is normal maintenance that should be done when discovered, it stops water getting in under the paint. Question is what the other fasteners were nit addressed.

emre787 wrote:

Can only agree! After all, this was the only option QR was left with to prove themselves right and it was definitely the best move they could have made in my opinion


Does it prove QR right, or does it prove the regulator right. Think about what activities the regulator oversees. What documents does the regulator have its name on
 
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par13del
Posts: 11049
Joined: Sun Dec 18, 2005 9:14 pm

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

Wed Dec 01, 2021 11:42 pm

zeke wrote:
par13del wrote:
Based on past and current history, why would you assume that Qatar saw the problem months ago and said nothing


There is no evidence in the public domain to support QR went to Airbus prior to the aircraft repaint in Ireland.

Only thing I can say here is that until the leak of the pictures, we could make the same claim, maybe in time maintenance records on that a/c prior to repaint will be released.
Note that despite what is now in the public domain, the issues at other airlines did not come from them.
At the end of the day, my biggest take here is the management of and dissemination of information. Nothing has changed with the a/c and or the problem and its correction since the grounding, we the public now know what the airlines and other insiders have known for years, so we are now more educated.
 
tomcat
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Joined: Thu Sep 28, 2000 4:14 am

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

Wed Dec 01, 2021 11:57 pm

A interesting article (from 2013) about lightning strike protection. Here are some relevant quotes for this thread.

This first quote explains why some LSP designs include a fiberglass ply:
Metal LSP products consist primarily of aluminum and copper. Aluminum was one of the first LSP choices, because of its low weight, but the risk of galvanic corrosion in contact with carbon fiber laminates is a concern, and an isolation ply of fiberglass adds weight. Further, if moisture penetrates the composite skin, aluminum corrosion can occur. Copper eliminates the galvanic reaction risk, but weighs at least twice as much as aluminum.


Dexmet Corp. (Wallingford, Conn.) is the exclusive supplier of LSP materials to Boeing, and also supplies Embraer, Airbus, Bombardier


Dexmet makes its trademarked MicroGrid expanded metal foil (...) A toothed die, positioned over the foil, drops down and slits the foil, while simultaneously, the foil is pulled and stretched to form a diamond-shaped mesh. (...) “The method of slit and stretch works better than weaving, since it eliminates any possibility of unraveling or loose strands, which can be problematic during processing and cause loss of electrical connectivity,” explains Mull. Expanded metal is smoother, less “bumpy” and shows less print-through than a woven mesh and reportedly adheres better to its host film or adhesive during fabrication.


The company (Hexcel) also manufactures an interwoven wire fabric (IWWF) for lower-energy LSP zones, such as the fuselage. Small-diameter wires (phosphor bronze, aluminum, copper and more) are woven into carbon cloth to create a single-layer LSP system.


Toray Composites (America) Inc. (Tacoma, Wash.) offers a similar IWWF fabric, which was selected by Boeing for the fuselage of the 787.


About repairs after a lightning strike:
looks can be deceiving: “Sometimes, the outer surface burns look like pepper sprinkled over the paint.” Because every aircraft model employs a different LSP system, inspection and repair is model-specific.


https://www.compositesworld.com/articles/lightning-strike-protection-strategies-for-composite-aircraft
 
Pelly
Posts: 136
Joined: Tue Jun 14, 2016 8:13 pm

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

Thu Dec 02, 2021 2:03 am

zeke wrote:
.

Pelly wrote:
What doesn't stack up is some of the speculation like QR grounding the aircraft because of them not wanting to pay the leases on their grounded A350s


You also missed the bit about also having a reason not to take contractural delivery of their other A350 aircraft.



QR had already reached an agreement with Airbus to defer aircraft deliveries. "Qatar Airways has struck a deal with Airbus SE to delay delivery of airplanes due to the pandemic-induced travel downturn but remains in talks with Boeing Co about deferrals" (Reuters, 15 Sep 2020). If you have access to Cirium you will see that deliveries were re-scheduled to 2022 except for a handful of frames that were almost ready, of these frames QR accepted delivery of 3 on 23 Oct 2020 when the COVID situation was much worse and the remaining few were due many months later.

The A359 that went in for repaint was a 4 year old frame at the time and went to Ireland on 13 November 2020 to be repainted into a special livery and between that time and May 2021 QR kept quiet to the press about the issue. It doesn't make sense to make all these issue just to not to take contractual delivery of the small number of A350s due in 2021, while leasing in many less fuel efficient aircraft as well as reactivating a fleet that they grounded (A380).

It doesn't make sense that they accepted deliveries of jets when the COVID situation was much worse but refused deliveries in the summer of 2021 when witnessing a big recovery in their traffic and flying MORE 12hr+ plus flights than prior to COVID. If the issue is speculated to be cash, I addressed earlier that QR had about US6.5b cash at the end of their 2021 financial year, they embarked in capital injections in other airlines during COVID which they wouldn't do if they weren't able to finance their own aircraft and that accepting delivery would be cash positive as it would release funds tied up when they conclude the sale-leaseback transactions which is how most of their A350s are financed.

I don't see the point in so much speculation or blaming either party or trying to find nefarious reasons. Issues happen with any aircraft, customers are affected differently by these issues and they deal differently with issues. AIrbus makes great planes and they will eventually fix this, QR is an important customer and despite all that is in the press they do have a good relationship and will work things out.


Source:
https://www.reuters.com/article/qatar-a ... SKBN25T17R
 
RoyalBrunei757
Posts: 883
Joined: Mon Apr 12, 2021 6:18 am

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

Thu Dec 02, 2021 4:10 am

Not sure if there is anything to do with the current issue, QR has cancelled MSN 275, 353, 361 (Airbus did not built these frames too), pending for delivery MSN 409, 430, 438, 440, 444, 450.

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