The European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA), which regulates the airline industry within the European Union, said it found «no evidence» that problems with the Airbus A350 represented a safety issue.
The A350 is at the center of a legal dispute between the manufacturer and Qatar Airways, with the companies arguing over the airworthiness of Airbus’ most modern long-haul jet. According to the airline, deterioration in the aircraft’s outer layers exposed its lightning protection. This led Qatar to ground more than 20 units of the type.
Airbus, for its part, has always been backed by EASA. While the manufacturer has acknowledged the existence of certain «quality problems» relating to several airlines’ aircraft, it denies that these pose a safety risk.
According to Reuters, Patrick Ky, director of EASA, defended the position of the agency he heads, pointing out during a visit to Washington, United States, that the regulator «has inspected the Airbus A350 and has not found any damage that could imply safety problems».
Well, this is awkward…
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The dispute will be the backdrop for the IATA world meeting, to be held in Qatar between June 19 and 21. Airbus CEO Guillaume Faury has already confirmed that he will attend the event, which is being organized by Qatar Airways CEO Akbar Al Baker.
Additional spice will be the presence of Willie Walsh, head of IATA, who has also shared his opinion about the conflict. Last year, he warned that «manufacturers should not take advantage of their market position,» calling Airbus’ decision to terminate Qatar’s contract for fifty A321neo aircraft «unprecedented and worrying».
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