Over the past month or so, Qatar Airways has been steadily removing its Airbus A330-300 fleet from storage. The entire fleet has now been relocated from Doha International Airport to Hamad International Airport, with five out of eight aircraft already operating cargo and passenger flights.
While Qatar Airways was the only of the Middle East giants to keep flying passengers around the globe at the height of the pandemic, it didn’t keep its entire fleet operational. Many were shuttled to Doha International Airport for long-term storage, with some, such as the Airbus A380 fleet, unlikely to even return to service.
Five of eight back in service
According to fleet data from ch-aviation.com, Qatar Airways has eight Airbus A330-330 aircraft. The oldest is A7-AED which is 16.03 years old. Meanwhile, the youngest, A7-AEO, is only 13.42 years old. The aircraft had been in storage at the old Doha International Airport.
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According to flight data from RadarBox.com, the airline has moved all eight of the aircraft the four-mile as the crow flies journey from Doha International Airport to Hamad International Airport. Unfortunately, the A330 doesn’t fly as the crow flies, meaning that the journey instead took a quarter of an hour.
The first A330-300 returned to service on July 1st. They hadn’t flown since July 1st, 2020, with the last commercial flight operating from Chennai. It seems the A330-200 fleet could be following suit. A7-ACI flew to Brussels on August 1st, following its removal from storage. It seems one of the airline’s former A330-200s won’t be flying again, having been sent to Air Italy and then the desert.
The data available shows that five of these aircraft have so far returned to service. Given the flight numbers in use by the aircraft, QR8—, it appears that the planes are primarily being used for their cargo capacity on preighter flights. Despite this, ch-aviation.com did suggest that the aircraft was being used for passengers from London Heathrow Airport (LHR) in place of the Boeing 777-300ER.
Three aircraft still not active
Three of the Airbus A330-300 aircraft remain inactive for the time being. These include A7-AEE, A7-AEG, and A7-AEO. EE and EO have so far only been ferried across to Hamad International Airport. Meanwhile, it seems A7-AEG has already taken a big day out, albeit without getting very far.
According to data from RadarBox.com, this aircraft was ferried across to Hamad International Airport on April 23rd, taking 14 minutes. The plane remained on the ground until June 9th, then it completed a test flight above the sea adjacent to Qatar. During two and a quarter hours of flight, the aircraft reached a max height of 40,000 feet. The aircraft remained in the local area, completing a touch and go before returning to land at Hamad International Airport.
Have you flown on a Qatar Airways Airbus A330? Let us know what you think and why in the comments down below!