SIA says no problems detected with A350 planes reported by Qatar; will not ground fleet

The Airbus A350s form a core part of SIA's fleet, and are used for long-distance flights.
The Airbus A350s form a core part of SIA's fleet, and are used for long-distance flights.PHOTO: LIANHE ZAOBAO

SINGAPORE - Singapore Airlines (SIA) has not detected problems with its Airbus A350 planes that were reported by Qatar Airways, and will continue to operate the aircraft.

SIA told The Straits Times on Tuesday (Aug 10) that it "has not experienced the issues reported in media articles", in response to queries about Qatar Airways' move to ground 13 of its Airbus A350s over concerns about material degradation in the aircraft body.

Singapore's national carrier had 55 A350s in its operating fleet as at the end of the last quarter.

They form a core part of SIA's fleet, and are used for long-distance flights.

SIA chief executive Goh Choon Phong had said in 2016 that the Airbus A350 was a game-changer, as it would allow for flights to more long-haul destinations on a non-stop basis.

The airline has ordered 67 of the aircraft in total.

Qatar Airways announced last Friday it had been instructed by its regulator to ground 13 A350 planes. It said this was due to a "significant condition" across the fleet in which the fuselage surface below the paint was degrading at an accelerated rate.

Qatar Airways chief executive Akbar Al Baker said in a statement that the airline expects Airbus to identify the root cause and permanently correct the issue before it takes any further delivery of the aircraft.

News agency Reuters reported that Qatar Airways has periodically criticised France's Airbus and its US rival Boeing for delays or quality lapses.

Reuters reported that aerospace executives have accused Qatar Airways of seizing on such details in the past to delay taking deliveries or gain leverage in other negotiations, a suggestion that the carrier has denied.