Qatar Airways justifies temporary A380 fleet grounding

Gulf carrier makes "sustainable operation" decision during COVID crisis

Qatar Airways A380 - pictured at Guangzhou International Airport | © All rights reserved

Qatar Airways says a decision to ground its fleet of 10 Airbus A380s due to the COVID-19 crisis has had vast benefits to the environment.

The Doha-based airline is one of the few global airlines that has maintained a presence in the skies throughout the pandemic. Its mix of modern fuel-efficient aircraft have helped Qatar Airways to develop a “sustainable and adapted solution”, the airline said.

“Due to COVID-19’s impact on travel demand, the airline has taken the decision to ground its fleet of Airbus A380s as it is not commercially or environmentally justifiable to operate such a large aircraft in the current market,” Qatar Airways said. Figures identified that Qatar Airways’ fleet of A350 aircraft consumed 20 tonnes of CO2 less per block hour on certain routes compared to the double-decker superjumbo.

“Finding the right balance between passenger and cargo demand has enabled the airline to continue operating its full fleet of Airbus A350 and Boeing 787 aircraft, helping take people home safely and providing reliable airfreight capacity to support global trade and the transport of essential medical and aid supplies.”

Qatar Airways A350 inflight | © All rights reserved

Qatar Airways operates a fleet of 49 A350s in its present fleet, the largest operator of the A350 series aircraft.

The 30 Boeing 787 aircraft in the Qatar Airways fleet also provide appropriate capacity to offer the right capacity on routes in Europe while markets recover. As the world prepares itself to emerge from the COVID-19 crisis, Qatar Airways’ A350 fleet is the aircraft of choice for the most strategically important long-haul routes to the Americas, Europe and the Asia Pacific regions.

“Qatar Airways Group has a strong record of industry leadership on sustainable operations. We take our responsibilities to care for the environment seriously and sustainability is at the forefront of our business planning across the group, this is why we have an average fleet age of less than five years, one of the youngest in the world,” said Qatar Airways Group Chief Executive, Akbar Al Baker.

“Thanks to our strategic and diversified investment in our fleet, the viability of our operations has not been dependent on any specific aircraft type. This has enabled us to be one of the few global airlines to never stop operating during this crisis, carrying over two million passengers and in the process becoming the largest international airline in the world. Our fleet mix has enabled us to continue operating routes throughout this crisis ensuring we do not leave passengers stranded,” Baker said.

Qatar Airways A350 landing | © All rights reserved

“As we rebuild our network, passengers can rely on us to operate an honest schedule of flights to take them where they want to go, using the right size aircraft to offer sensible capacity on each route. As a result, we will not resume flying our fleet of A380 until demand returns to appropriate levels… Our young fleet of Airbus A350 and Boeing 787 aircraft are a much better fit for current global demand,” he said.

Qatar Airways relaunched 11 destinations on 1 July including Bali (Denpasar), Beirut, Belgrade, Berlin, Boston, Edinburgh, Larnaca, Los Angeles, Prague, Washington DC, and Zagreb. By the end of July, its network will expand to more than 450 weekly flights to over 70 destinations worldwide.

All images supplied.

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