London and Paris will be the first two cities to see the return of Qatar Airways' Airbus A380, with the superjumbo flying out of retirement on December 15.
As previously and exclusively reported by Executive Traveller, the Gulf carrier plans to bring back at least five of its ten A380s to cater for growing demand over the peak Christmas season while 13 of its Airbus A350 jets remain stood down over claims of fuselage degradation.
"We grounded the A380s at the beginning of the pandemic, and we never wanted to fly them again," Qatar Airways CEO Akbar Al Baker explained to Executive Traveller last week.
"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. We have to find capacity for our passengers who need airlines to take them to their loved ones for Christmas."
Both London and Paris have long been among the Gulf carrier's most popular A380 destinations, so the airline's overnight update to its timetable comes as little surprise.
Qatar Airways has scheduled its first Airbus A380 flights in almost two years from December 15, with a double-daily service from Doha to London/Heathrow (QR3/4 and QR9/6) alongside a daily service to Paris (QR39/40).
This means that not only is the superjumbo back, but Qatar's first class offering, as the A380 is the only jet in the international fleet with a first class cabin.
Eight spacious open suites are perched at the front of the lower deck – and while the A380 lacks the elegant private business class Qsuites of its Airbus A350 and Boeing 777 siblings, its previous-gen business class still ticks all the boxes for space and comfort.
Of course, the highlight of any flight on the Oneworld member's superjumbo is a visit to the upper deck premium lounge, where business and first class flyers can relax and socialise while enjoying drinks and snacks from the bar menu.