Qatar CAA challenges EASA technical superiority

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For decades Civil Aviation Authorities have been audited by EuASA and FAA

That created a PYRAMID of relations 

Qatar CAA disagrees with EASA on A350 susceptibility to lightning strikes

For more than 30 years, the FAA and EASA signaled that they were the top of an aviation safety pyramid. The message was delivered when each Civil Aviation Authority was audited by these fellow sovereigns. The foreignaudits governments may have been offended by these reviews.

Qatar and other CAAs appear to be degrading this perceived superiority. The first instance of this leveling of  the CAA pyramid could have been detected when 17 nations, few with much or any aircraft certification experience, banned the operation of the Max 8 in their countries.

Lightning hitting an A350Below is a story about the Qatar CAA ordering its flag carrier to ground its fleet of 20  long-range A350 due to surface flaws which may have damaged  a layer of lightning protection below the paint.This problem expose the aircraft to possibly catastrophic  lightning strikes

skin deterioration



The “audacity” of a CAA with no aircraft certification experience to question the collective Airbus and EASA expertise is a new phenomenon[1]. Airbus rejects the QCAA airworthiness judgment-Airbus denial


and threatens legal action– a strategy, which if it fails, will damage all of its customer relationships. Toulouse must be 1000% sure of its technical position.

The situation has become so intractable that UK minister of  State for Investment has offered to mediate in the ‘unprecedented’ Airbus-Qatar Airways row.

Airbus v. Qatar




Qatar Airways CEO says Airbus should admit to A350 surface flaws


LONDON/PARIS, Nov 30 (Reuters) – The head of Qatar Airways on Tuesday called on Airbus to admit that it had a problem with flaws on the surface of its A350 jets and ruled out buying freighter planes from the European company, effectively handing a potential deal to rival Boeing (BA.N).

Chief Executive {His Excellency} Akbar Al Baker confirmed that the Gulf airline had grounded 20 of the long-range A350 jets in a months-long dispute over paint and other surface damage thatQatar Al Baker has also prompted the airline to halt further deliveries. “Qatar Airways cannot sit with its arms folded and legs crossed. We need to solve it. Airbus has made a very large dent in our widebody operations,” Al Baker said.

“It is a serious matter; we don’t know if it is an airworthiness issue; we also don’t know that it is not an airworthiness issue. The real cause of it has not been established by Airbus,” he told The Aviation Club in London.

“Now they have, at last, accepted that there are other airlines, several of them that have the same condition.”

A Reuters investigation published on Monday found that at least five other airlines

 →  {Finnair, Cathay Pacific, Lufthansa,  Air Caraibes and Etihad} ←

 had raised concerns over surface flaws since the A350 entered service and that in at some cases damage extended below paint to a layer of lightning protection.

Airbus, which until recently maintained that the problem was confined to Qatar Airways,[see above listed 5 airlines] has said the plane is safe and that it understands the root cause of the problem.

An Airbus spokesperson said it had nothing to add to earlier statements.

On Monday, Airbus confirmed it was looking at updating the lightning system to a more flexible material called Perforated Copper Foil, a move first reported by Reuters.

 perforated and expanded copper

“They have acknowledged that they are working to find a solution, which means they still don’t have a solution,” Al Baker said on Tuesday, adding the Airbus problems were worse than current production flaws faced by the Boeing 787 (BA.N).

“And they don’t have a solution because they still don’t know why it is happening. You know it is always better when there is a problem to admit, not to put your customer in a corner and blame them for something which is actually your own problem.”

Al Baker suggested that any plans to replace the A350 anti-lightning system, known as Expanded Copper Foil, with a new material may require certification. Airbus declined comment.

QCAA logoQatar’s national carrier has said it is progressively grounding its 53 A350s on orders from its regulator, until reasons for what witnesses describe as the blistered and pock-marked appearance of some the aircraft can be confirmed.

The airline operates 53 A350s, although 20 of the jets have been grounded on the instructions of the Qatari Civil Aviation Authority (QCAA). Qatar has another 23 on order but has halted further deliveries during the dispute. Singapore Airlines is the biggest operator of the A350. (Financial Times)


The European Union Aviation Safety Agency has said that there is “no indication that the paint and protection degradation” affects the structure or safety of the A350.


painting a Qatar plane

[1] There have been previous complaints by a CAA about the judgment of  FAA and EASA


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