Executive Traveller exclusive
Qatar Airways will “reactivate” an additional four Airbus A380s, doubling the size of its resurgent superjumbo fleet to cope with a surge in demand as travellers reconnect with families, friends and business opportunities.
As first reported by Executive Traveller earlier this week, Sydney will see the A380’s return on June 1 – and Qatar Airways is set to add more pins to the A380 network map.
“We will have eight (A380s) reactivated,” the airline’s Chief Commercial Officer Thierry Antinori tells Executive Traveller.
“We will look at different combinations between Europe and Asia,” Thierry revealed, with a number of destinations under review, although as for Asia he says “I do not bet on Singapore, personally,” and nor will the A380s be winging their way to the USA, he confirmed.
Qatar Airways has already brought four A380s back to the skies from November 2021, with the aircraft now thundering along the premium Doha-London and Doha-Paris routes.
This latest move will leave just two of the ten-strong superjumbo fleet in mothballs, and they could still join their siblings.
It’s an unexpected return to glory for a plane which Qatar Airways retired at the start of the pandemic, and which outspoken CEO Akbar Al Baker once described his purchase of the superjumbos as “the biggest mistake” in the airline’s history.
“We grounded the A380s at the beginning of the pandemic, and we never wanted to fly them again,” Al Baker told Executive Traveller in late 2021.
When Qatar Airways prematurely announced the end of its A380 era, Al Baker said “I don’t think there is a market for that airplane in the foreseeable future.”
But that foreseeable future didn’t include almost half of Qatar’s workhorse Airbus A350 fleet – 21 jets out of 53 – being stood down over what the airline claims are critical ‘fuselage degradation’ issues.
And while the legal battle between Airbus and Qatar Airways continues to escalate, so does the number of people looking to fly once more – leaving Qatar Airways scrambling to meet capacity on its busiest routes, which is where the 517-seat superjumbos make their flex.