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Qatar Airways Akbar Al Baker has fallen out of love with the A380.

January 15, 2021 Headline News No Comments

A report in Simple Flying by Andrew Curran says that Qatar Airways CEO, Akbar Al Baker, has confirmed half of Qatar Airways’ A380s won’t fly for the airline again.

Speaking at a CAPA Live event this week, in what his usual controversial and outspoken style [GTM’s comment not Simple Flying’s!] Mr Al Baker said the A380 was one of the worst planes in the sky when it came to emissions and overall efficiency, with the airline not operating any of its A380s at the moment and expanding on the subject, Mr Al Baker went on to say in the future, only half of Qatar’s A380s will fly again, adding, “And when we operate them (the A380s again), we will only operate half the numbers we have”.

Andrew Curran says that when it comes to the A380, Akbar Al Baker has the seven-year itch, with Qatar Airways having ten A380s in its fleet, with the first arriving at the airline in 2014 and the most recent in 2018, with seven years ago, Akbar Al Baker was full of praise for the mega jumbo, saying, “By introducing the A380 to our ever-expanding fleet, it will strengthen Doha’s position as a key regional and global aviation hub, adding, “The arrival of the A380 opens a new chapter in the unparalleled, signature service we provide to travellers on board with Qatar Airways.”

In 2021, Simple Flying says that it appears Akbar Al Baker has fallen out of love with the plane, speaking with Peter Harbinson at CAPA Live on Wednesday, the airline CEO was decidedly lukewarm about the plane, with all ten of the Qatar A380s are grounded and Akbar Al Baker says they will stay that way for the foreseeable future, going on to confirm that when the A380 does resume flying for Qatar Airways, half of the fleet will stay on the ground permanently, joking “If you are interested in purchasing one for yourself, I will sell it to you”

The report says that there’s been a certain amount of speculation about the future of Qatar Airways A380 fleet, with its speculation familiar to most operators of the A380, with most, like Qatar Airways, having temporarily grounded them.

As recently as December though, the airline was keeping its options open, with Mark Drusch, a senior Vice President at Qatar Airways, telling Simple Flying that while there was no rush to return the A380s to service, ultimately they would probably all get flying again, but Mr Drusch did flag Qatar’s concerns about the A380s environmental impact and general efficiency, a topic Akbar Al Baker returned to this week.

Akbar Al Baker also sang the praises of the A350, particularly the A350-1000 this week, with Peter Harbinson challenging Mr Al Baker on his previous claims the A380-800 has twice the emissions of an A350-1000 on long-haul routes, with Akbar Al Baker going into bat for the A350-1000, especially in comparison to the older A380s, saying, “The A380 is one of the worst aircraft when it comes to emissions that is flying today,” with according to Mr Al Baker, it is for this reason half the A380s won’t return to service.

Andrew Curran says though that is unlikely to be the whole story about why half of Qatar Airways’ A380s won’t fly for the airline again, but right now, that’s the spin the airline is putting on the decision!

An edited report by John Alwyn-Jones from Simple Flying.

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