Last week Qatar Airways grounded 13 Airbus A350s following explicit written instructions from the Qatari Civil Aviation Authority. Singapore Airlines, which has many aircraft older than some grounded by Qatar Airways, has now confirmed that it hasn’t been affected by the surface degradation experienced by the Middle East giant.
Qatar Airways seems to have a serious problem with Airbus and the A350. The airline has currently grounded 13 of its 53 Airbus A350s and is refusing to take any more of the aircraft until the problem is resolved. Despite the seriousness of the situation presented by Qatar Airways, no other airlines have yet been impacted.
Singapore Airlines fleet in the clear
According to The Straits Times, Singapore Airlines hasn’t experienced any of the Airbus A350 issues presented by Qatar Airways. As such, the airline continues to operate its fleet of Airbus’ latest clean-sheet design with no problems.
According to ch-aviation.com, Singapore Airlines currently has 56 A350 aircraft, all of which are listed as active. Qatar Airways’ youngest A350 listed as stored is just 3.03 years old. Singapore Airlines has 24 aircraft older than this. As they haven’t experienced the issue, it would suggest that it isn’t related to an aircraft’s age, although we can’t say this for sure.
Only Qatar impacted
443 Airbus A350 aircraft have been delivered to 39 different airlines since the European aerospace giant launched the aircraft program. Despite the wide distribution of aircraft, thus far, it seems as though Qatar Airways is the only airline to have seen any impact. This means that just 3% of the global fleet is currently affected.
Earlier today, EASA confirmed to Simple Flying that no other airlines had reported issues, saying,
“There is no indication that the paint and protection degradation affects the structure of the aircraft or introduces other risks, and so EASA is not intending to take any action as [the] state of design for this issue at this time. No other airlines have reported paint and protection damage.”
What is the issue?
Qatar Airways first discovered an issue with some of its Airbus A350 at the end of 2020. Surface degradation was found when A7-ALL’s existing paint was removed to apply a special livery. When the paint was removed, those working on the new paint scheme discovered what Airbus has since described as “…superficial/cosmetic and only visible when the top coat of paint is stripped.”
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Qatar Airways has now experienced the issue on 13 aircraft and has thus grounded them following instructions from its local aviation regulator. Last week the airline said that it would not reactivate the aircraft until the cause of its problem had been identified with sufficient remedial work made available. In the meantime, the airline isn’t taking any further aircraft deliveries from the European aerospace giant.
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