Qatar Airways is preparing for the Airbus A380 to return to service. Although from the language of their press release, “Welcoming the A380 back into the fleet” would be a rather strong term, to say the leat.
The airline blames the grounding of 19 of it’ Airbus A350 fleet by the regulator due to ongoing issues relating to accelerated surface degradation below the paint line.
Combined with a rise in passenger demand, the airline “reluctantly took the decision to welcome the fleet back into operation due to ongoing capacity shortage”.
Qatar Airways is planning to bring at least five of the airline’s 10 A380 aircraft will be brought back into service temporarily over the coming weeks to support fleet capacity on key winter routes, including London Heathrow and Paris from 15 December 2021.
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.
Shy and retiring 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.
“One of Qatar Airways’ greatest assets is our highly flexible fleet of diverse aircraft. This means we are not dependent on a specific aircraft type, and enables us to balance our commercial needs with our responsibilities to maintain an environmentally sustainable fleet at all times.
“Looking forward, we remain committed to finding alternative solutions to support customer demand and maintain the highest levels of sustainability and customer experience for our passengers.
“We continue to strongly urge Airbus to prioritize their investigations into the conclusive root cause of the issue affecting the A350 aircraft type, and ensure it proposes a permanent solution at the earliest opportunity to repair the damage and correct the underlying root cause.”
If you’ve got capacity, it’s time to use it.
After making the biggest song and dance about walking away from its A380 fleet, and calling it a mistake, it seems Akbar Al Baker has no choice but to turn to the double-decker planes to pull him out of a rather tight spot, with 19 aircraft on the ground.
With people travelling again, Qatar Airways is having to scale back up. Their network currently stands at 140 destinations, with frequencies starting to creep back up, having a fleet to support their network is key.
Even if it means dragging an aircraft that they disparaged and called a mistake out of mothballs and back into service to help it out, so passengers can connect from A to B.
I guess some mistakes work out don’t they Akbar Al Baker?
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