PARIS, Feb 1 (Reuters) – Hopes are rising of a deal between Airbus and Qatar Airways as early as Wednesday to avert an unprecedented trial over the safety of the A350 jetliner and billions of dollars of cancelled orders, two people familiar with the matter said.
The two companies have narrowed differences over damage to more than two dozen grounded jets after political intervention and technical talks, but resolving the $2 billion dispute depends on a round of senior talks on Wednesday, they added.
France-based Airbus and Qatar Airways declined to comment.
Qatar has challenged the world’s largest planemaker over safety and taken it to court after cracks in the painted surface exposed gaps in a sub-layer of A350 lightning protection.
Airbus has acknowledged quality flaws but insists the jets are safe and retaliated by revoking dozens of plane orders from Qatar. A rare UK corporate trial has been set for June. (Reporting by Tim Hepher Editing by David Goodman)