Qatar Airways has grounded 13 Airbus A350s citing an order from the state’s regulator over concerns that the fuselage surface below the paint is degrading at an accelerated rate.

The airline’s chief executive Akbar Al Baker had already flagged concerns at the response from Airbus to the previously unspecified issue relating to its A350s, saying the airline would not take delivery of any more of the type until the issue has been addressed.

Qatar A350-1000 A7-ANO-c-Qatar Airways

Source: Qatar Airways

Qatar Airways today says that following ”the explicit written instruction of its regulator”, 13 A350s have been grounded, ”until such time as the root cause can be established and a satisfactory solution made available to permanently correct the underlying condition”. 

Al Baker says: ”With this latest development, we sincerely expect that Airbus treats this matter with the proper attention that it requires. 

”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.”

Cirium fleets data shows Qatar Airways has an in-service fleet of 40 A350-900/1000s and 13 in storage. It has a further 23 A350-1000s on order.

Airbus has been contacted for comment.

The airline says it is returning some of its A330 fleet into service with immediate effect to partly offset the grounded A350s.