Airbus’ ongoing legal battle with Qatar Airways has forced them to make changes to their A350.
The widebody has been at the forefront of discussion and debate in recent years following Qatar Airways highlighting surface defects.
The change in design focuses on the rear of the aircraft and is a direct response to the legal battle with the Doha-based airline. In addition, Airbus confirms per Reuters that the expanded copper field (ECF) will be replaced with Perforated copper foil (PCF).
This is located between the fuselage and the paint and protects the aircraft. Reuters reported in 2021 that Airbus was studying such a copper foil. However, while ECF is lighter, it is more prone to cracking and experiencing wear and tear. Something the European aircraft manufacturer is trying to find ways to avoid.
The saga with Qatar Airways dates back to 2021. When the pair locked horns following the airline finding defects on the surface of their A350s. The carrier subsequently grounded over 20 of their A350s and demanded over USD 600 million in compensation. A figure that was only set to grow the longer the saga went on. While Airbus acknowledged the defects they claimed it wasn’t a safety risk, Qatar’s regulators said it was.
As time progressed, Airbus believed that the Doha-based airline was impacting the image of the A350. Henceforth proceedings went to court. Since Airbus has terminated contracts with the airline, there’s been further fallout on a fractured relationship.