It’s coming back: The Qatar Airways A380

Err, ho, hum! It’s back. The Qatar Airways A380 that is. At the outset of the pandemic, Qatar Airways was one of the A380 operators who had permanently grounded their A380 aircraft. And now, they are talking of bringing it back in a month.

Qatar Airways determined that the A380 could not play a role in its plans, as the plane was two engines too large, and their route growth was going to be using the Airbus A350 and the Boeing 787 aircraft to grow further. The airline had proceeded to write down the plane and took a significant loss on its results announcement earlier this week as a consequence.

a large airplane taking off

However, talking to the Executive Traveller, Qatar Airways CEO Akbar Al Baker has revealed that they will be putting the jets back in service in November 2021, arguably, as they have no option left.

Firstly, Qatar Airways anticipates a quicker return of demand this December as borders begin to open up, and they want to be ready. In the words of Mr Al Baker, “We have to find capacity for our passengers who need airlines to take them to their loved ones for Christmas.”

Secondly, the airline has many of its A350 aircraft grounded, as many as thirteen of them, on the instruction of Qatar’s aviation regulator. The regulator has found there to be an accelerated deterioration of the A350’s fuselage.

While we don’t know if the A380 will be a stop-gap arrangement or a long-term one, but Qatar Airways plans to fly five of these aircraft now and envisions a future where it could see the entire fleet return to service in 2022.

Qatar Airways is going in big on resuming the A380 services. Al Baker told Executive Traveller that they are hiring back cockpit crew at the same packages as before and will bring them back to currency. That means they will also fly the A380s without passengers for a while to allow the cockpit crew to build their hours and get current with the aircraft again.

This should be good news for customers. Qatar Airways has a fabulous product, with eight suites in first class, 48 reverse-herringbone business class seats and 461 seats in Economy class. Not just that, there is an excellent bar at the back of the business cabin for premium cabin passengers.

Qatar Airways has, however, not revealed yet, as to which destinations will it serve with the A380 aircraft, and will volunteer that information in a week or so.

What do you make of Qatar Airways’ strategy to bring the A380s back into service after deciding they were no good for them anymore?

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About Ajay

Ajay Awtaney is the Founder and Editor of Live From A Lounge (LFAL), a pioneering digital platform renowned for publishing news and views about aviation, hotels, passenger experience, loyalty programs, travel trends and frequent travel tips for the Global Indian. He is considered the Indian authority on business travel, luxury travel, frequent flyer miles, loyalty credit cards and travel for Indians around the globe. Ajay is a frequent contributor and commentator on the media as well, including ET Now, BBC, CNBC TV18, NDTV, Conde Nast Traveller and many other outlets.

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  1. Absolutely delighted to hear Qatar’s A380s are returning to the skies!

    Our first ever flight with Qatar Airways’ was on their fantastic A380, in business class, from Paris to Doha and onward to Bali. From start to finish it was a truly amazing & unforgettable experience! The bar on their A380 is stunning – probably the best bar on an A380, a great place to chill out at 35,000ft.

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