An Airbus A330-300 was flown on a Qatari registration yesterday from France to Ireland. Bedecked in a gleaming green coat of paint, the widebody has finished its service with Qatar Airways and is off to a new home with Irish IAG airline, Aer Lingus.
Aer Lingus welcomes a new widebody
The latest addition to the Aer Lingus fleet arrived yesterday in Dublin. Flying on Qatari registration, it flew in from Chateauroux in France in gleaming green paint, ready to begin its new life with the Irish airline.
A7-AEM is a 13-year-old A330-300, which had been with Qatar Airways since January 2008. It was withdrawn from us on March 10th last year and has remained at Doha parked up since then. In December, it was moved over to Doha’s old International Airport, which hasn’t served commercial flights since May 2014.
On February 26th, the A330 took a long trip from the Middle East over to France, landing at Chateauroux in the early hours of the following day. It’s been there since then, but last night took off for its final destination and a new home in Dublin.
Still flying under its Qatari registration, A7-AEM, the aircraft now sports a glorious coat of green paint. Fully decked out in Aer Lingus livery, the A330 is set to take on a new registration – EI-EIL – as it joins the fleet and will be christened by the airline St. MacDara.
Arriving into @DublinAirport from #Chateauroux #airport this evening was ex @Qatar A333 A7-AEM,due to be @AerLingus EI-EIL.#avgeek #aviation #addict #plane #flight #aero #Irish #flying #spring @FlyingIreland @simple_flying @IAApress @AviationNewsIRL #runway #photo #love. ✈🍀✈ pic.twitter.com/tI81MlO8vh
— Mel Byrne (@MelByrneRadio) March 16, 2021
This latest addition will bring the Aer Lingus fleet of A330-300s to a total of 12. Currently, nine of the fleet are back in service, while two remain parked. According to sources, this A330 will join its sisters in being stored for the time being, and is likely to head to Shannon for storage in the coming days.
Qatar’s A330 phase-out
Qatar Airways is gradually shedding its Airbus A330s in favor of newer, more efficient planes. Since the start of COVID, three A330-300s have left the fleet, with two finding new homes with Aer Lingus. A7-AEH became EI-EIK back in May last year, although it remains stored at Ciudad Real in Spain at present.
A7-AEB is the other A330-300 to have left the fleet. This aircraft hasn’t found a new home as yet, but has gone into deep storage at Roswell in the USA.
— Kevin Boydston (@N800AN) December 15, 2020
Qatar had already been phasing out its A330-200s since 2015, but began removing the type in earnest over the course of 2020. Since last July, nine A330-200s have left the fleet, most going back to leasing companies. Three freighter A330s have headed to Air Belgium.
Now, just six A330-200 and 10 A330-300 remain at the airline. All have been parked up and are not expected to return to service. The airline is also retiring its fleet of A320ceo family aircraft over the next few years, in favor of newer, more efficient aircraft. The Airbus widebodies will be superseded by Dreamliners and A350s, while the ceos will see neos coming in to replace them.
By 2024, or perhaps sooner, Qatar will fly just four aircraft types.