Qatar Airways to retire half of its A380 planes
(CNN) – It was once the all-conquering superjumbo, but now it’s more considered a white elephant.
As the latest nail in the coffin for the world’s largest passenger aircraft, Qatar Airways has confirmed that half of its fleet of 10 Airbus A380s, which were discontinued since March last year, will be withdrawn from service.
Qatari airline’s CEO Akbar Al Baker said at an aviation industry forum this week that the decision was motivated by concerns about its environmental impact.
“I think the A380 is one of the worst aircraft when it comes to emissions flying around today,” Al Baker said at CAPA Live Aviation on January 13th.
“Because of this, we’ve decided not to run them for the foreseeable future and even if we run them we’ll only run half the numbers we have.”
The Mammut double-deckers can accommodate 853 passengers, although a typical seating arrangement means they can usually accommodate up to 525 passengers.
The four-engine vehicle is popular with air travelers but expensive to run at the best of times. It’s just too big for the current demand in the pandemic.
The plane’s maps had been marked for some time, however. Airbus has overestimated the airlines’ appetite for the superjumbo.
When Airbus announced in 2019 that delivery of the A380 would cease in 2021, the European manufacturer had only delivered 234 vehicles – less than half of the 600 it had predicted when the double-decker was introduced in 2007.The last superjumbo is currently being completed at the Toulouse-Blagnac airport in France.
However, the exceptional circumstances of the Covid-19 outbreak are causing superjumbo fleets to disappear from the sky earlier than expected.
Airlines like Lufthansa, Qantas, British Airways and Air France grounded their super jumbos when the pandemic broke out last spring.
Qatar Airways announced to CNN that “Qatar Airways will continue to hold its A380 aircraft on the ground until passenger demand recovers to reasonable levels”.
At BakerA Live, Al Baker praised the performance of smaller, more economical long-haul aircraft.
“The A350 and B787 are very efficient in terms of emissions, especially the A350-1000, which exceeded our expectations with the efficiency they produce today,” he said.
Al Baker has praised the A350’s efficiency.
PASCAL PAVANI / AFP / AFP via Getty Images
Qatar Airways has a fleet of 53 A350 aircraft serving more than 45 destinations on the airline’s network, including Johannesburg, London, Melbourne, New York, Paris, Sao Paolo and Singapore.
The airline has launched a program that allows passengers to voluntarily offset the CO2 emissions associated with their trip at the time of booking their ticket.
The airline is part of the Oneworld alliance, along with airlines such as American Airlines and British Airways, which have committed to zero carbon emissions by 2050.