Qatar Airways announced yesterday that it hasbegun proceedings to file a lawsuit in a British courtagainst theEuropean aircraft manufacturingconsortium Airbus in an attempt to resolve a disputeover defects in thefuselage overlap of its A350 passenger jets, bringing the two sides into a rarelegal confrontation over civilaviation safety.

The two companies have been embroiled in a disputefor months over corrosion, including problems withthepaint on the aircraft.

According to Qatar Airways, corrosion has beendetected in a coating substrate in the fuselage area, leadingthe Qatar Civil Aviation Authority to decideto ground 21 A350 aircraft. For its part, Airbusclaims that passengeraircraft made from syntheticcarbon materials are safe to fly, despite theoccurrence of partialsurfacecorrosion. However, Qatar Airways argues that it is too early to drawconclusions related to safety and whetherit has beencompromised.

The dispute between the two airlines came to thefore last week when Airbus, in an unusual moveaccording toexperts, accused the reported Gulfairline of misrepresenting the problem as a safetyissue and threatened toappeal to an independentlegal review. For its part, Qatar Airways retaliatedyesterday by announcing that it hasfiled a claimagainst Airbus in the High Court in London.