While the pandemic keeps taking its toll on international air travel, airlines are reviewing the future of their widebody aircraft. The status of the Airbus A380 was under question even before the pandemic. But the current health crisis was just enough for some operators to single-handedly oust the Super Jumbo.
Qatar Airways, which previously indicated that it would shrink its A380 fleet, is seemingly joining the list of airlines that might not operate the aircraft further. The Doha-based carrier, which currently still owns 10 Super Jumbos, via its chief executive, stated that the airline was already taking an impairment from its double-deckers.
“We are already taking an impairment from them [Airbus A380s – ed. note],” Qatar Airways chief executive officer Akbar Al Baker said during a FlightPlan III webinar on July 21, 2021. “People want airplanes that are environmentally-friendly. None of this fits the bill with A380.”
The prolonged Qatar Airways A380 exit
Qatar Airways had been already planning to retire the Airbus A380 even before the health crisis. Back in 2019, Qatar Airways’ boss suggested that the Super Jumbos would be retired around 2024.
However, in May 2021, the situation appeared to have deteriorated drastically. While the airline has been hinting at the A380 exit for a while, the intention turned into action when the Qatar Airways CEO said that purchasing Airbus A380 was the biggest mistake the airline has made.
“The biggest mistake we made was the purchase of Airbus A380s,” Al Baker said while speaking at a Simple Flying live webinar on May 26, 2021, adding that the double-decker does more damage than benefits both Qatar Airways and the environment.
Now, in July 2021, Qatar Airways boss reaffirmed the same notion, saying that the Airbus A380 “is not going to have a quick turnaround” and there is no future for this double-decker in the Qatar Airways
“If we operate them at all, there will be only five of them [Airbus A380 – ed. note] out of 10 in our fleet,” Al Baker added.