Qatar Airways plans to retire its A380 fleet earlier than planned, joining a number of other airlines which do not see a long-term place for the Airbus superjumbo jet.
Never one to beat around the bush, Qatar Airways CEO Akbar Al Baker made his intentions clear at the recent Paris Air Show to FlightGlobal:
We feel that the aircraft does not have very long future in Qatar Airways‘ fleet.
We would think about retiring those airplanes on their 10th anniversary, unless something untoward happens and we need them.
Qatar Airways began operating the A380 in 2014 and took delivery of its tenth and final A380 last year. Like Air France, Qatar Airways faces a difficult choice. The A380 is an outlier in the Qatar Airways fleet. Although it has been dubbed Qatar’s “flagship” aircraft, it does not features the carrier’s tremendous QSuite business class. It also is the only aircraft type in the fleet featuring first class.
A retrofit of the four-engine aircraft is extremely pricey and may not make sense as Qatar moves toward a fleet of more fuel-efficient two-engine aircraft.
Just as Air France is struggling over its A380 program, so is Qatar Airways. Right now, the carrier is leaning toward retiring its A380s rather than retrofit them and place them under a heavy maintenance visit (the D-check, a process that can take up to 50,000 man-hours and up to two months to complete, must be done every decade).
> Read More: Air France May Retire A380 Even Earlier
Check out my A380 first class reviews: