Paris. Airbus has taken the extraordinary step of cancelling an order of 50 planes from Qatar Airways, a major customer, in an escalating feud over the airline's grounding of A350 aircraft.
The Qatari company, one of the Gulf region's "big three" carriers, has grounded part of its A350 fleet over degradation of exterior fuselage surfaces.
The airline has taken the dispute to the High Court in London and stopped accepting further deliveries of the wide-body aircraft from the European firm until the problem is resolved.
An Airbus spokesman told AFP on Friday that the aircraft maker has "terminated" a contract with Qatar Airways for 50 single-aisle A321neo aircraft, "in accordance with our rights".
The order was worth $6 billion at catalogue prices, though airlines are usually charged less for large purchases.
The two companies had their first hearing in court on Thursday.
Qatar Airways demanded $618 million in compensation, plus $4 million more per day for each day the A350 planes have been kept idle, a source close to the matter said.
Airbus said it cancelled the A321neo orders because Qatar Airways failed its contractual obligations by refusing to take deliveries of A350 planes.