Qatar Airways is forced to ground 13 Airbus A350s due to “fuselage degradation”

Qatar Airways has issued this statement:

In addition to its regular checks to ensure the continued safety and security of its passengers and aircraft, Qatar Airways continues to closely monitor the significant condition across its Airbus A350 fleet in which the fuselage surface below the paint is degrading at an accelerated rate. The airline is working with its regulator to ensure the continued safety of all passengers and on this basis, and following the explicit written instruction of its regulator, thirteen aircraft have now been grounded, effectively removing them from service until such time as the root cause can be established and a satisfactory solution made available to permanently correct the underlying condition.

The safety and security of its passengers remains Qatar Airways’ primary concern. The airline will do all it can to also ensure that its passengers are not inconvenienced by the mandated removal of these aircraft from service and will endeavor to find alternative solutions to offer the usual high standard of service to all passengers. Qatar Airways has already taken action to return its A330 fleet into service with immediate effect to offset some of the impact of the grounded A350 aircraft and is presently looking at other solutions too.

In addition to the airline’s focus on protecting its reputation for offering the highest levels of customer experience, Qatar Airways is cooperating with all the leasing companies affected by this A350 grounding who have started to inspect their impacted aircraft.

Qatar Airways Group Chief Executive, His Excellency Mr. Akbar Al Baker, said: “With this latest development, we sincerely expect that Airbus treats this matter with the proper attention that it requires.  Qatar Airways will not accept anything other than aircraft that continue to offer its customers the highest possible standard of safety and the best travel experience that they deserve.  Qatar Airways expects Airbus to have established the root cause and permanently corrected the underlying condition to the satisfaction of Qatar Airways and our regulator before we take delivery of any further A350 aircraft.”

Note: The specific aircraft have not been identified.