EASA Not Intending To Act On Qatar’s A350 Grounding Yet

Avionics

After Qatar Airways grounded 13 Airbus A350 aircraft last week, EASA has been looking at the issue with both Airbus and the airline. The European regulator doesn’t intend to take any action concerning the matter at this time, as there isn’t any indication that the issue affects the structure of the aircraft or introduces other risks.
EASA doesn’t intend to act on Qatar Airways Airbus A350 grounding just yet. Photo: AirbusLast week Qatar Airways grounded 13 of its Airbus A350 aircraft citing accelerated fuselage degradation below the paint. This led the Qatari aviation authority to issue explicit written instructions to ground the jet. So far, Qatar Airways is the only airline to experience the issue.
Aware since 2020
An EASA spokesperson told Simple Flying that the agency has been aware of the Airbus A350 issue being experienced by Qatar Airways since the end of 2020. It has been working with both Airbus and the airline to determine whether there is a risk to the type’s airworthiness.
EASA told Simple Flying,
“Based on the data provided to EASA, 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 State of Design for this issue at this time. No other airlines have reported paint and protection damage.”
Qatar Airways was instructed to ground 13 A350 aircraft last week. Photo: AirbusDespite this, EASA is still paying attention to the issue. A spokesperson informed Simple Flying that the agency has “contacted the Qatari Civil Aviation Authority to determine if the latest action is related to airworthiness issues with the aircraft type or not.” EASA will then evaluate any further information it receives to “ensure continued airworthiness of the A350”.
Why has Qatar Airways grounded aircraft?
As Simple Flying reported last week, Qatar Airways has grounded 13 of its Airbus A350 aircraft, seemingly from both the -900 and -1000 variants. The airline did so on the advice of the Qatari Civil Aviation Authority, saying that passenger safety and security was its primary concern.
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The airline appears to have first discovered the issue when it sent an Airbus A350 to Ireland to receive a world-cup paint job. This required the existing paint to be stripped away, which revealed the surface anomalies. Airbus later told Simple Flying that these were,
“superficial/cosmetic and only visible when the top coat of paint is stripped.”
EASA is reaching out to the Qatari Civil Aviation Authority to discuss the latest findings. Photo: AirbusAs a result of the issue, Qatar Airways already told Airbus that it wouldn’t accept further A350 deliveries until the manufacturer resolved the problem in early June. Now, the airline has said that it won’t return the 13 grounded aircraft to service until the cause of the surface degradation has been identified and a suitable long-term fix approved.
What do you make of the Qatar Airways Airbus A350 grounding saga? Let us know what you think and why in the comments down below!

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