Akbar Al Baker, Qatar Airways CEO, said a return to service of the Airbus A380 would be unlikely for at least two years, as he did not expect demand to recover in that timeframe. 

”There will not be that kind of demand, and if demand starts to grow and people start deploying the A380, you will only be able to achieve it by dumping the price,” Al Baker commented at the Airlines 2050 online conference. 

The fate of Qatar Airways A380s has been in jeopardy since the beginning of the crisis. The airline was one of the first carriers to ground the Super Jumbos. For now, it prefers to operate the Airbus A350 and the Boeing 787 Dreamliner, two more efficient alternatives for the long-haul market.

In July 2020 already, in a thinly veiled jab at its competitor Emirates that had just resumed operating the widebodies, Al Baker said a resumption of service for Qatar Airways A380 fleet was unlikely. “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,” commented the CEO.

The A380 is used sparsely around the world, with only three carriers operating it currently: Emirates, Korean Air, and China Southern Airlines (ZNH). The coronavirus meant an early retirement definitive for Air France full fleet of Super Jumbos. Etihad and Lufthansa (LHAB) (LHA) are reportedly considering doing the same.

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When the coronavirus crisis hit the aviation industry with low demand, the widebodies were the first aircraft to go into storage. As the situation stabilized and started to improve, both the Boeing 747 and the Airbus A380 took to the skies again. Which one of the two giants returned faster to service?