What changes are coming to Qatar Airways fleet?


Qatar Airways operates the most diverse fleet of all Big Three Gulf carriers. While Emirates fleet is made of just two types, famously the Airbus A380s and Boeing 777s, and Etihad Airways has five different types, Qatar Airways flies a whopping eight different aircraft families ‒ and that is not including freighters and different models of the same aircraft family. 

Qatar Airways current fleet 

Qatar Airways fleet is currently large, young and mixed. The Gulf carrier has 207 passenger aircraft, with an average age of approximately six years. It operates a wide array of Airbus aircraft (six families ranging from the smallest A320 (A319) all the way to A380 superjumbos) and just two types of Boeing jets (namely, the Triple Sevens and Dreamliners). But when it comes to the number of actual aircraft, Qatar’s fleet reflects no clear preference for either plane manufacturer: the dominant aircraft types are Boeing 777 and Airbus A350 XWB. 

However, the situation is going to change in the near future. The airline is moving towards a simplified fleet and is planning to operate only four aircraft families for passenger service instead of the current eight. 


Changes coming

“From 2024, our fleet will consist of Boeing 777s and 787s and Airbus A350s and A321s,” the group chief executive Akbar al-Baker revealed in May 2019. This means that Qatar Airways is planning to wave good-bye to its two A319s (already over 15 years old), 31 A320-200s (average age less than 10 years old) and  24 A330s (average age 11 years). The Airbus wide-bodies are expected to leave the fleet by 2022 and to be replaced by A350XWBs and 787s.

Qatar Airways’ A380s are also already approaching the middle years of their service, as the airline plans to retire them once they reach 10 years. “For the A380s, on the 10th anniversary, we will retire them,” as al-Baker told the Aviation Analyst in February 2019.  The average age of the superjumbos is currently just under 5 years, meaning that they are likely to leave the fleet around 2025.

What will step into the A380’s place is the upcoming Boeing 777X. The  folding wings airplane is expected to enter the market in 2021. In addition, the airline also has a voluminous order for 50 Airbus A321neos ‒ the version it does not yet currently fly.

Qatar Airways is also due to expand its A350XWB and Boeing Dreamliner fleets. Having already received all 34 of its A350-900s from Airbus (and added five more aircraft on lease), the Gulf carrier is still awaiting deliveries for two-thirds of its A350-1000 order, Airbus order book shows.

And while the Gulf carrier already flies the Boeing 787-8s, the slightly larger Dreamliner version, the 787-9, is also going to be a novelty in the fleet. Since December 2019, the operator has already received seven 787-9s, but the aircraft are not yet introduced to service. The planes are going to feature Qsuites (Qatar Airways business class suites), but there reportedly are issues with getting the Qsuites installed. 


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