LONDON — After a UK court divided the case, a $2 billion legal dispute between Airbus and Qatar Airways appears certain to last for the majority of 2023. Airbus has canceled large-scale aircraft orders from the Qatari flag carrier in an unparalleled way after the airline filed a legal case against the European planemaker at a London court.

Qatar Airways wants Airbus to compensate its losses over surface damage and lightning protection issues on A350 aircraft that were grounded by the country's civil aviation regulator.

Judge David Waksman ordered a trial set for next June to be split into two parts because of the sheer weight of disagreements, ensuring the unusually public industry saga rolls on for months.

The first part will focus on liability with the combined claims, estimated at around $2 billion, tackled later.

Qatar Airways says widespread paint cracking damage on some A350 jets prompted the airline to stop taking deliveries. Qatar's regulator has grounded at least 29 of the jets, citing unanswered safety questions, over the past year.

Airbus has acknowledged quality problems with its premier long-haul model but denies any safety risk. It has canceled all outstanding new business with Qatar Airways, which has increased purchases from rival Boeing.

On Friday, the two sides clashed angrily over access to the affected planes, with Airbus lawyer David Wolfson complaining with the aid of photographs that its experts had been forced to photograph jets from a distance "under the light of the moon."

He also accused the airline of engaging in a game of "switcheroo" to prevent its experts from inspecting in-service jets. Qatar Airways strongly denied failing to cooperate with inspections and said it had given whatever access was practical to jets on short notice as it hosts the World Cup soccer tournament.

"We do have to bear in mind that this is an operating airline," the carrier's lawyer Geraint Webb said.