All Airlines Are Grounding the World’s Largest Passenger Aircraft For Good

Qatar Airways has no plans to operate its Airbus A380s for at least a couple of years, its Chief Executive Officer, Akbar Al Baker, said while addressing the Airlines 2050 Conference.

Qatar Airways was the first airline to ground the superjumbo back in March, following the recession due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The airline was initially expected to bring the big bird back in the air by 2021; however, the Middle Eastern carrier’s CEO scrapped the plans.

We don’t think we will operate our A380s for at least the next couple of years.

He conditioned the return of four-engine A380s to the growth similar to last year.

The growth rate will have to be the growth rate we achieved in 2019 for us to consider the A380.


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The airlines that are still operating these giants are ‘very foolish,’ according to CEO Qatar Airways.

Other airlines dumping four-engine aircraft

Following Qatar Airways, almost all airlines using the superjumbo jets began to retire their four-engine planes.

So far, Air France, Lufthansa, and Etihad have either grounded or permanently retired their fleet of A380s. Whereas British Airways, Qantas, and Virgin Atlantic have dumped their Boeing 747s.

Meanwhile, Qatar Airways, which has a ten-strong fleet of A380s, is not planning to fly them any time soon.

Why Qatar Airways Might Never Fly A380s

Experts believe that the Middle Eastern airline might never fly the type again, for they cause ten times more pollution than the Airbus A350 and are getting obsolete.


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Al Baker himself admitted that during the conference.

We recently benchmarked the Airbus A380 against the Airbus A350 on several routes [….] and found that the Airbus A380 emitted over 80% more carbon dioxide per block hour than the Airbus A350 on each of these routes.

Qatar Airways initially planned to retire A380s at the 10-year mark, between 2024 and 2028. However, the post-pandemic aviation outlook might drop A380s out of the race.

The airline has a huge number of new aircraft on order, to be delivered in the next few years. These include 30 Boeing 787-9s, 50 Boeing 777-9s, and 28 Airbus A350-1000s. With these fuel-efficient and luxurious airplanes joining the fleet, A380s might not stand a chance anymore.

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