Qatar Airways chief executive Akbar Al Baker indicated the airline’s future plans with its Airbus A380 fleet, stating that going forward, the airline will only operate half of its current Super Jumbo fleet.
Al Baker once again reiterated the efficiency of its twin-engine wide-body aircraft when compared to the Airbus A380. The chief executive also indicated that going forward, even if the airline does unground its A380s, it would only operate half of its fleet. Thus, only five Airbus’ Jumbos are set to remain in Qatar Airways’ fleet.
“The A380 is one of the worst aircraft when it comes to emissions that is flying today. That is why we have decided that we will not operate them for the foreseeable future – and even when we will operate them, we will only operate half of the numbers we have,” Al Baker commented on Qatar Airways’ future relationship with the A380.
“So, if you are very interested in some for yourself, I will sell it to you,” he added during CAPA Live on January 13, 2021.
In July 2020, the airline released a statement that the operation of the Airbus A380 “is not commercially or environmentally justifiable.” The same day, its neighboring rival Emirates once again began flying the double-decker.
“Having closely studied the environmental impact numbers, flying such a large aircraft with a low load factor does not meet our environmental responsibilities or make commercial sense,” read the chief executive’s statement at the time.
The Doha-based airline currently has 53 Airbus A350 and 37 Boeing 787 aircraft. The Qatari flag carrier has grounded one A350 and one B787, according to planespotters.net data.
However, all of its 10 Airbus A380 aircraft were grounded at the beginning of the global pandemic in March 2020. Ever since the double-deckers have remained parked at Doha International Airport (DIA). In October 2020, Al Baker commented that the 10 will remain grounded for at least two years, as “there will not be that kind of demand,” for such capacity-intense aircraft.
Even before the current downturn in travel, the Qatari airline pre-emptively decided that the days of the Airbus A380 with Qatar Airways colors were numbered.
“For the A380s, on the 10thanniversary, we will retire them,” stated Al Baker in February 2019. On average, the airline’s double-deckers are 5.5 years old, per planespotters.net. The carrier’s oldest, registered as A7-APA, is 7.5 years old, and is seemingly set to be retired in September 2024.