Picture: REUTERS
Picture: REUTERS

Paris/London — Qatar Airways is claiming $618m in compensation from plane maker Airbus in a dispute over erosion to the surface of A350 jetliners, a court document showed on Thursday.

The Gulf airline is also seeking extra compensation of $4m for every day that 21 of its A350 aeroplanes remain grounded by Qatar's regulator over the skin damage, which includes erosion and gaps in a layer of lightning protection.

The European jetliner’s largest customer launched the claim in December, saying Airbus had failed to provide a full root-cause analysis needed to satisfy its questions over the airworthiness of about 40% of its A350 fleet.

Airbus said it understood the cause and would “deny in total” the airline’s claim in a division of the high court in London. “Airbus restates there is no airworthiness issue,” a spokesperson said, adding that that view had been confirmed by European regulators.

Qatar Airways had no immediate comment.

The companies have been locked in a row for months over damage including blistered paint, rivet-related cracks and corrosion to the sub-layer of lightning protection. The row escalated in November when a Reuters investigation revealed that at least five other airlines had discovered surface flaws, prompting Airbus to set up an internal task force and to explore a new anti-lightning design for future A350 planes.

Qatar is so far the only country to ground some of the jets. 

Reuters

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