Airbus says it revokes Qatar order for 50 A321 jets as rift widens

Airbus says it revokes Qatar order for 50 A321 jets as rift widens
Qatar Airways had ordered the A321 neos to open new routes. (Konstantin von Wedelstaedt/Wikimedia Commons)
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Updated 23 January 2022

Airbus says it revokes Qatar order for 50 A321 jets as rift widens

Airbus says it revokes Qatar order for 50 A321 jets as rift widens
  • Qatar Airways is expected to fight the A321 contract’s termination, having said it plans to take delivery of the jets even though it is refusing to take more A350s until a dispute over surface erosion on the larger planes has been resolved

PARIS: Airbus on Thursday raised the stakes in a dispute with one of its largest customers, Qatar Airways, over grounded and undelivered A350 jets by announcing it had revoked a separate contract for 50 smaller A321s the airline needs to open new routes.
The move is expected to deepen a dispute that moved closer toward a rare courtroom clash on Thursday, with a procedural hearing over Qatar’s claim for $600 million in compensation over A350 flaws pencilled in for the week of April 26 in London.
Airbus revealed it was walking away from the contract for A321neos in skeletal arguments presented during a scheduling session over the A350 dispute at a division of Britain’s High Court on Thursday, people familiar with the matter said.
“We confirm we did terminate the contract for 50 A321s with Qatar Airways in accordance with our rights,” an Airbus spokesman said following a filing setting out provisional arguments, reported earlier by Bloomberg News.
Qatar Airways is expected to fight the A321 contract’s termination, having said it plans to take delivery of the jets even though it is refusing to take more A350s until a dispute over surface erosion on the larger planes has been resolved.
The airline had no immediate comment on the A321 contract.
The A321 order stems from a deal first signed some 10 years ago which was then worth $4.6 billion at list prices. It was later modified to switch 10 of the A321s to a newer version.
Qatar Airways has said the A321s will help it launch flights to new markets where there is currently not enough demand for larger aircraft, but which are out of reach of smaller A320s.

GROUNDING DISPUTE
The two companies have been locked in a row for months over A350 damage including blistered paint, cracked window frames or riveted areas and erosion of a layer of lightning protection.
Qatar Airways says its national regulator has ordered it to stop flying 21 out of its 53 A350 jets as problems appeared, prompting a bitter dispute with Airbus which has said that while it acknowledges technical problems, there is no safety issue.
Qatar Airways is seeking $618 million in compensation for the 21 grounded jets plus $4 million a day as the row drags on.
The Gulf carrier is also asking British judges to order France-based Airbus not to attempt to deliver any more of the jets until what it describes as a design defect has been fixed.
Airbus has said it will “deny in total” the complaint and has accused Qatar Airways, once one of its most highly courted customers, of mislabelling the problem as a safety concern.
It has indicated it will argue that state-owned Qatar Airways influenced its regulator to ground the jets to win compensation, while Qatar Airways has questioned the design and accuses Airbus of failing to produce studies, the people said.
Qatar Airways has said its local regulator is independently driving safety decisions and cannot evaluate the airworthiness of the affected jets without a deeper analysis from Airbus.
The European Union Aviation Safety Agency, which is responsible for the overall design but not the locally regulated airworthiness of individual planes in service, has said it has not so far found safety problems with A350s that it inspected.
Qatar is so far the only country to ground some of the jets.
But a Reuters investigation in November revealed at least five other airlines had discovered paint or surface flaws since 2016, prompting Airbus to set up an internal task force before the Qatar row, and to explore a new A350 anti-lightning design.


Bahraini oil refineries’ profit margin rises to an all time high, oil minister tells Asharq

Bahraini oil refineries’ profit margin rises to an all time high, oil minister tells Asharq
Updated 14 sec ago

Bahraini oil refineries’ profit margin rises to an all time high, oil minister tells Asharq

Bahraini oil refineries’ profit margin rises to an all time high, oil minister tells Asharq

RIYADH: The profit margin of Bahraini oil refineries has risen to its highest historical level in the industry, the country's minister of oil and gas said in an interview with Asharq.

Mohammed bin Khalifa bin Ahmed Al-Khalifa also added that Bahrain Petroleum Co. refinery’s expansion is over 80 percent complete. 

Expansion of the main oil refinery is in progress which will raise the total capacity to around 400,000 barrels per day, he added. 

The Bahrain Petroleum Co. refinery expansion project will raise the current production capacity from 267,000 barrels to 360,000 barrels per day, according to Asharq.

Bahrain has more than 30 trillion cubic feet of gas reserves, and imports about 80 percent of its crude oil from Saudi Arabia.


Saudi crude oil exports fall 1% in March, biggest monthly decline in year: JODI

Saudi crude oil exports fall 1% in March, biggest monthly decline in year: JODI
Updated 5 min 28 sec ago

Saudi crude oil exports fall 1% in March, biggest monthly decline in year: JODI

Saudi crude oil exports fall 1% in March, biggest monthly decline in year: JODI

Saudi Arabia's crude oil exports fell by 72,000 barrels per day (bpd), or 1 percent month-on-month in March, data from the Joint Organisations Data Initiative, also known as JODI, reveal. 

Exports decreased to 7.235 million bpd from 7.307 million bpd in February. The decline is the biggest since March 2021 when exports fell 3.5 percent.

The volume of crude oil output has continued to grow for the eleventh month in a row. 

The output grew by 75,000 bpd in March to 10.300 million bpd. Production rose by 0.7 percent from 10.225 million bpd in February. 


Wheat prices hit record high after India export ban

Wheat prices hit record high after India export ban
Updated 25 min 12 sec ago

Wheat prices hit record high after India export ban

Wheat prices hit record high after India export ban

Wheat prices surged to a record high on Monday after India decided to ban exports of the commodity as a heatwave hit production.

The price — which was already high in the wake of Russia’s invasion of major wheat exporter Ukraine — jumped to 435 euros ($453) per ton as the European market opened.
 


Shares in Saudi Tadawul gain despite a decline in profits

Shares in Saudi Tadawul gain despite a decline in profits
Updated 39 min 35 sec ago

Shares in Saudi Tadawul gain despite a decline in profits

Shares in Saudi Tadawul gain despite a decline in profits

RIYADH: Saudi Tadawul Group’s stock gained in the afternoon trading session on Monday, despite the company posting lower first-quarter profit yesterday.

As of 2:04 p.m. Saudi time, the Kingdom’s bourse operator had seen its shares rise 3.15 percent to SR209.80 ($56), up from SR203.2 at the previous close.

The company reported lower profits yesterday, dropping 21 percent to SR141 million in the first quarter, from SR180 million for the same quarter last year.


Bahrain Central Bank oversubscribed its Sukuk Al-Salam securities

Bahrain Central Bank oversubscribed its Sukuk Al-Salam securities
Updated 16 May 2022

Bahrain Central Bank oversubscribed its Sukuk Al-Salam securities

Bahrain Central Bank oversubscribed its Sukuk Al-Salam securities

RIYADH: The Central Bank of Bahrain’s monthly issue of Sukuk Al-Salam Islamic security has been oversubscribed by 184 percent. 

In total, it received subscriptions worth $209 million for the $114-million issue, which matures in 91 days, the central bank stated in a statement.

The Sukuk is expected to give a return of 2.30 percent on maturity on August 17, against its previous issue rate of 1.99 percent on April 13, 2022.

CBB issued the Sukuk Al-Salam on behalf of the Government of Bahrain.