Qatar Grounds More A350 Widebodies Over Fuselage Issues
Qatar’s civil aviation authorities on Thursday ordered the immediate grounding of 13 Airbus A350 aircraft operated by flag carrier Qatar Airways. The airline said the decision was made after regular condition monitoring checks revealed that “the fuselage surface below the paint is degrading at an accelerated rate.”
The carrier is moving quickly to bring a number of A330s back into service to replace the larger A350s. It added that it is evaluating other solutions to restore capacity to the fleet.
“The airline is working with its regulator to ensure the continued safety of all passengers and on this basis, and following the explicit written instruction of its regulator, 13 aircraft have now been grounded, effectively removing them from service until such time as the root cause can be established and a satisfactory solution made available to permanently correct the underlying condition,” Qatar Airways said in an August 5 media statement.
In June, the airline said that it had withdrawn an undisclosed number of A350s from service while it resolved what it characterized as an ongoing quality issue with Airbus. At the time, it halted further deliveries, having already received 53 units from a total commitment for 76 aircraft. The operator is the largest customer for the long-range widebody, which has an all-composite fuselage.
“With this latest development, we sincerely expect that Airbus treats this matter with the proper attention that it requires,” said Qatar Airways chief executive Akbar Al Baker in a further statement.
Airbus has declined to comment on the confirmed report that further Qatar Airways A350s have been grounded.