It looks as though A380 lovers shouldn’t expect to fly on the giant of the skies with Qatar Airways any time soon. According to the carrier’s latest schedule filings, the aircraft now won’t take to the skies for at least a year’s time.
It’s been a tricky time for the Airbus A380. With the exception of China Southern, which has run the type throughout, no airlines have been operating the aircraft for passenger services. Of course, the odd repositioning or training flight has taken place in the meantime. Emirates has now said that it will fly the aircraft again next month, but other airlines are not expected to follow suit soon.
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Grounded for a year?
Of late, Qatar Airways has been fairly critical of the Airbus A380. However, according to the latest schedule analysis from Routesonline, it won’t fly any time soon. The publication today noted that the aircraft wouldn’t serve any flights until at least June 14th, 2021.
In the meantime, the publication states that other aircraft with lower capacities will be placed on the A380’s routes. To Frankfurt, London, and Paris, the Airbus A380 will be substituted by Boeing 777-300ER aircraft. Meanwhile, on its Australian A380 routes such as Melbourne, Perth, and Sydney, the Airbus A350-1000 will be used. Besides the A380, these are Qatar’s higher capacity aircraft.
What is the future of the aircraft?
Given the current volatility of the Airbus A380 situation, anything could happen to Qatar’s A380s now. In a perfect world for A380 lovers, Qatar would retain the aircraft that are yet to reach ten years of age. However, the current pandemic has shown us that anything is possible.
The airline’s CEO, Akbar Al Baker, previously said that he would look to retire his fleet of Airbus A380s once they reach 10 years of age. For Qatar, this will occur from 2024 until 2028.
The airline’s youngest A380s are just two years old, having been delivered in 2018. It goes without saying that scrapping such young aircraft would be a huge shame, given both the financial and environmental costs incurred making them.
However, these costs are also the reason that the aircraft is falling out of favor. The A380 is both incredibly fuel-hungry and costly to run. Unless it is filled to the brim, it can be hard to break even operating the type. While it seems possible that Qatar could scrap some older A380s early, it would be a considerable shock and likely embarrassment to get rid of the two-year-old craft, especially as the airline won’t take any new aircraft until at least 2022.
What do you think the future holds for Qatar Airways’ Airbus A380s? Let us know your thoughts in the comments!