Airbus has cancelled a fourth A350-1000, due for hand-over last month but not taken up by Qatar Airways (QR, Doha Hamad Int'l) as the two companies remain embroiled in a legal battle over aircraft fuselage paint deterioration, Reuters has reported.

Airbus won its initial case in the London High Court, allowing it to continue deliveries to Qatar Airways and cancel them if and when delivery payments were not made. The carrier openly said it would not be taking any of its outstanding A350-1000s until the manufacturer addressed paint issues which, it claimed, have adversely impacted the aircraft's airworthiness. Airbus is seeking USD220 million in compensation for the first two A350s that the airline refused to take.

The ch-aviation fleets advanced module shows that following the recent cancellation, Qatar Airways still has eighteen A350-1000s on firm order from the manufacturer, nine of which are scheduled for delivery this year. The airline's existing fleet of A350s comprises thirty-four A350-900s (of which twenty are grounded) and nineteen -1000s (seven grounded).

A full trial is scheduled to begin in June 2023, although the two parties can reach an out-of-court settlement ahead of that deadline.

The London High Court has also allowed Airbus to remarket forty A321-200Ns and ten A321-200NY(XLR)s unilaterally cancelled by the manufacturer.

Qatar Airways also confirmed in a court filing that its commitment with Boeing (BOE, Washington National) for fifty B737 MAX has now lapsed. Airbus previously argued that the airline could order the MAX and was thus not unfairly affected by the A321neo order cancellation. It is not clear if the airline was referring to its non-binding Letter of Intent originally earmarked for then subsidiary Air Italy or to a new Memorandum of Understanding for twenty-five B737-10s with options for a further 25 units signed in February 2022.

The airline did not respond to ch-aviation's request for comment.