Qatar Airways returns Airbus A380 to service
A Qatar Airways Airbus A380 took to the skies for the first time in more than 18 months earlier, positioning the aircraft from Doha International Airport (DIA) to Hamad International Airport (HIA).
The airline said it “reluctantly” took the decision to welcome the fleet back into operation, due to ongoing capacity shortages.
It is anticipated that at least five of the airline’s ten A380 aircraft will be brought back into service on a temporary basis over the coming weeks to support fleet capacity on key winter routes, including London Heathrow (LHR) and Paris (CDG).
Flights are expected to start on December 15th.
The national carrier of Qatar is currently facing significant limitations to its fleet capacity as a result of the recent grounding of 19 of its Airbus A350 fleet due to an accelerated surface degradation condition impacting the surface of the aircraft below the paint, as mandated by the Qatar Civil Aviation Authority (QCAA).
The airline also recently re-introduced a number of its A330 fleet following a continued increase in capacity requirements due to the easing of travel restrictions and the upcoming peak winter holiday period, which are anticipated to see a return to pre-Covid-19 levels.
Qatar Airways Group chief executive, Akbar Al Baker, said: “The recent grounding of 19 Qatar Airways A350 fleet has left us with no alternative but to temporarily bring some of our A380 fleet back on key winter routes.
“These groundings are due to an ongoing issue relating to the accelerated degradation of the fuselage surface below the paint, which as yet remains an unresolved matter between Qatar Airways and the manufacturer for which the root cause is yet to be understood.
“This difficult decision reflects the gravity of the A350 issue and is intended to be a short-term measure to assist us in balancing our commercial needs.
“It does not signify a permanent reintroduction of our A380 fleet, which were grounded in favour of more fuel-efficient, twin-engine aircraft at the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic.”