Qatar Airways has announced plans to bring back its Airbus A380 into service despite earlier statements suggesting there was no future for the superjumbo jet.
Qatar Airways To Reactivate A380 This Autumn
Speaking to Executive Traveler, Qatar Airways CEO Akbar Al Baker seemed to lament that the A380s would return to service.
“I think by early November we’ll be starting to fly the A380s again. At the moment we are looking at flying five, but we may have to fly all ten.”
In January, Al Baker had heaped scorn on the A380 and expressed little desire to operate them:
“This is the worst aircraft when it comes to emissions that is flying today. That is why we have decided that we will not operate them for the foreseeable future – and even when we will operate them, we will only operate half of the numbers we have.”
In recent days, Qatar Airways had even taken a write-off of half its A380 fleet, part of its’ massive multi-billion dollar loss. Even now, Al Baker seems perturbed by returning the A380s into service, adding, “We grounded the A380s at the beginning of the pandemic, and we never wanted to fly them again.”
The culprit is not just overwhelming demand for travel. More directly, the problem is the Airbus A350 is currently grounded by Qatari regulators over safety concerns, leaving a huge gap in the Qatar Airways fleet.
“Unfortunately, with the issues we are having with the Airbus A350s that have been grounded by our regulator, we have no alternative…but to fly the A380s.”
As a result, engineering checks have already begun and furloughed A380 pilots have been recalled to begin training, which will include a mix of simulator time and 2-3 weeks of flights without passengers onboard.
At this time, A380 routes have not been announced. The return of the A380 marks the return of first class to Qatar Airways.
Qatar Airways is also recruiting pilots from British Airways and re-activating some A330 jets as well.
Facing increased demand coupled with a problematic A350 fleet, Qatar Airways is activating its superjumbo A380 jet. In a surprise that I can only hope will be replicated at other airlines, the four-engine jet will take to the skies as early as November.
Are you excited about the Qatar Airways A380 return?
> Read More: Qatar Airways A380 First Class Review