Airbus-Qatar jet dispute: Inside the hangar

STORY: Sitting idle in Qatar's capital Doha, these two Airbus 350 jets look like any other long-haul jetliners.

But they are are among 23 grounded A350s at the center of a legal dispute between Airbus and Qatar's national carrier.

Last year, Qatar Airways launched legal action against the European plane maker at London's High Court, arguing that the planes were not safe to fly - something Airbus strongly denies.

Reuters journalists obtained a rare on-site visit to view the planes for themselves.

They found what appeared to be evidence of damage to the surface of parts of the wings, tail and hull.

In some areas including on the curved wingtips, the protective lightning mesh that sits between the hull and the paint appeared exposed and corroded.

In other parts it appeared to be missing, leaving areas of the composite hull exposed.

Reuters requested the site visit on the sidelines of an airline industry meeting in Doha this week.

At the event, the CEO of Qatar Airways, Akbar Al Baker said the dispute with Airbus was far from over:

"On the personal level I am friends with everybody but when it comes to an issue with my company, then it's a different story. If things were settled, we would not be still waiting for the trial to happen next year.”

Airbus acknowledges quality flaws to the A350s, but denies they pose any safety risk.

European regulators have also declared the aircraft safe.

Qatar Airways, supported by its own national regulator, has argued this can't be known until further analysis, and it is refusing to take more of the planes.

The dispute has riveted the intensely private global jet industry.

Unless there is a settlement first, the two sides are heading towards a rare court clash next year - with the eyes of the rest of the industry on how it plays out .

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