Recently a rumour emerged in regards to a Qatar Airways Airbus A350 which was being repainted in Shannon, Ireland. Cracks were said to have been discovered in the 4-year-old aircraft’s fuselage after the aircraft was stripped of its normal Qatar Airways livery.
Yesterday, AviationHub365 was enquiring into the issue and asking local spotters for permission to use their images of the aircraft. At the time, multiple media outlets had reported the story about cracks being discovered in the aircraft’s fuselage.
AviationHub365 was informed that the reports were rumours and that the original story was incorrect.
The aircraft, A7-ALL, was ferried to Shannon Airport in Ireland on November 13th to be painted into a special livery for the 2022 FIFA World Cup to be held in Qatar.
Aviationhub365 reached out to Airbus in an attempt to get some clarity on the situation. In response, an Airbus spokesman has told AviationHub365 that
This story surfaced after a photo of a Qatar A350 ready for painting in new FIFA 2022 livery was published with a story saying the markings were cracks.
Neither Qatar nor Airbus were approached for the actual facts.
This is to do with the surface coating and not with any structural issue with the composites -ie not cracks at all. Qatar has a very similar response.”
The statement from Airbus continued to say
While undergoing a repaint at Shannon, Qatar Airways’ Airbus A350-900 aircraft was observed to have some irregularities on the surface coating. The issue is superficial/cosmetic and only visible when the top coat of paint is stripped. It is not a structural composite issue!
In agreement with Qatar Airways the aircraft will be flown to Toulouse for further inspection -as a precaution- and re-painting. There is no safety concern
The aircraft has now flown to Toulouse.
It will be interesting to see if there are any further developments to the story in the coming days. The original story about cracks in the fuselage was certainly worrying, however, the issue now seems to be small and as Airbus says, only a cosmetic one. The story shows how misinformation can easily spread and that contacting the airline or manufacturer for clarity is important