Akber Al Baker, CEO of Qatar Airways, has today announced that the airline will retire half of its A380 fleet when the aircraft returns to service. He further added that the airline’s remaining A380 will not be flying for the foreseeable future.
Whilst it is disappointing to see so many airlines retire their Airbus A380 and Boeing 747 fleets, this decision from Qatar Airways does not come as a surprise. I also do not believe this decision is to the detriment of travellers. Unlike airlines like Emirates and Etihad that have really innovated their hard product with the A380 aircraft, the Qatar aircraft was rather underwhelming.
Unlike Emirates with its on board lounge and shower spas or Etihad with its First Class Apartments and ostentatious Residence, Qatar Airways’ only differentiator for its A380 aircraft was a first class cabin. Unfortunately, the cabin was substantially inferior to First Class products on all of the three main competitor Gulf carriers. That is not to say that the experience was not good. Qatar Airways offers probably the best service standards and soft product in the sky. But the truth is that it does this much more effectively, efficiently and economically on its fleet of Boeing 777s and 787s and Airbus A350s. In fact, the 777s and A350s offer the added advantage of featuring the Q-Suite which is probably the best business class product operated by any airline.
Although Qatar Airways is currently saying that the A380 will fly again in the future, I do not believe the aircraft will ever return to the Qatar Airways line up. The aircraft is inefficient and expensive to operate. It does not feature any innovations that make entice travellers to choose the aircraft over the much newer fleet operated by the airline and the costs of maintaining such a small fleet of the aircraft will outweigh the benefits of scrapping it entirely.
The future of Qatar Airways lies in its 30 Boeing 787-9s, 50 Boeing 777-9s, and 28 Airbus A350-1000s which are due to be delivered over the next few years. With promises of a new first class on some of these aircraft and a spirit of continuous innovation, Qatar Airways will continue to impress travellers in all classes!
Book by: Oct 31st 2021
Book by: Oct 31st 2021
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