October 20, 2020 / None of Qatar Airways (QR) ten Airbus A380s will take to the skies in the next two years. In an online press conference, CEO Akbar al-Baker cited low demand as the reason for the prolonged grounding of the Superjumbos. “We do not intend to operate our A380s for at least the next couple of years – explained al-Baker, adding that “it would be foolish for rivals to use the A380 because too much seating capacity would drive down prices amid the pandemic”. All of QR’s A380s are currently stored at Doha International airport. The grounding means the airline will not offer First Class on its network for the next two years, considering that the A380 is the only aircraft in the fleet to feature the top-class cabin.
The Airbus Superjumbo is paying a heavy toll to the Covid pandemic, after Air France (AF) decided to retire its fleet a few months ago and Lufthansa (LH) did the same more recently for a part of its 14-strong fleet. Emirates is the only airline currently deploying the type on a number of routes: the Dubai-based airline re-started A380 operations during the summer to a growing number of cities, while the only airline which dared to operate the 380 right amid the first wave of the pandemic in spring 2020 was China Southern Airlines (CZ) to Sydney. (Photo Wikimedia Commons / Eric Salard)