Qatar Airways which has seen its passenger demand pummelled due to COVID-19 has taken the decision to ground its fleet of Airbus A380s. The carrier will keep its A380 aircraft grounded until passenger demand recovers to appropriate levels.
The airline has said that it is not commercially or environmentally justifiable to operate such a large aircraft in the current market.
Qatar Airways will continue to operate its full fleet of Airbus A350 and Boeing 787 jetliners.
The airline has announced that its A350 fleet will now be the aircraft of choice for the carrier’s most strategically important long-haul routes to the Americas, Europe and Asia-Pacific regions.
Qatar Airways was the launch customer for both the A350-900 and A350-1000 and is the largest operator of A350 series aircraft.
Qatar Airways has a total of 49 A350 variants in the current fleet at an average age of 2.5 years.
The carrier’s 30 Boeing 787s also provide appropriate capacity to offer the right capacity on routes in Europe while markets recover, the airline says.
By the end of July, Qatar Airways has said that its network will expand to more than 450 weekly flights to over 70 destinations worldwide.
“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. Having closely studied the environmental impact numbers, flying such a large aircraft with a low load factor does not meet our environmental responsibilities or make commercial sense. Our young fleet of Airbus A350 and Boeing 787 aircraft are a much better fit for current global demand,” said Qatar Airways Group Chief Executive, Akbar Al Baker.
The airline’s internal benchmark compared the A380 to the A350 on routes from Doha to London, Guangzhou, Frankfurt, Paris, Melbourne, Sydney, Toronto and New York. On a typical one-way flight, the airline found the A350 aircraft saved a minimum of 16 tonnes of carbon dioxide per block hour compared to the A380.
The analysis found that the A380 emitted over 80% more CO2 per block hour than the A350 on each of these routes. In the cases of Melbourne, New York and Toronto the A380 emitted 95% more CO2 per block hour with the A350 saving around 20 tonnes of CO2 per block hour.
Qatar Airways relaunched 11 destinations on 1 July including Bali Denpasar, Beirut, Belgrade, Berlin, Boston, Edinburgh, Larnaca, Los Angeles, Prague, Washington DC, and Zagreb.
This marked the largest number of route resumptions in a single day since Qatar Airways started to rebuild its network in what the airline has dubbed ‘Takeoff Wednesday’.
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