Last week we learned that Qatar Airways plans to return some Airbus A380s to service. This is one of two airlines planning on an A380 comeback, as British Airways A380s will also return to the skies soon. Well, Qatar Airways has now loaded some A380s into the schedule.
Qatar Airways bringing back A380s due to A350 groundings
In March 2020, Qatar Airways grounded its 10-strong Airbus A380 fleet. The A380 has very much become a victim of the pandemic, and in early 2021 Qatar Airways announced that it would retire at least half of its A380 fleet, with the future of the rest of the fleet still up in the air (no pun intended).
Qatar Airways’ CEO had described the purchase of A380s as the “biggest mistake” in the carrier’s history. With Qatar Airways’ financial results released last week, the airline even took a $2.3 billion one-time impairment charge related to the grounding of the carrier’s Airbus A380 and Airbus A330 fleets.
It looks like there has been a change in plans. Qatar Airways is now planning on bringing back at least five Airbus A380s this year:
- The airline intends to bring back five A380s as of late 2021
- We could even possibly see all 10 A380s flying again in 2022
Why the change of heart? Qatar Airways recently grounded 13 of its Airbus A350s, over claims that the fuselage surface below the paint on these planes is degrading at an accelerated rate. The airline has pledged to not fly these planes until Airbus comes up with a permanent solution, and it’s anyone’s guess when that will happen.
Qatar Airways now feels it has “no alternative” other than to fly A380s, as the airline needs to find a way to add capacity over Christmas.
Which routes will Qatar Airways A380s fly?
Qatar Airways has just loaded its first Airbus A380 routes into the schedule. With this latest update, Qatar Airways will fly the A380:
- 2x daily to London Heathrow (LHR) as of December 15, 2021; this includes QR3 & QR9 from DOH to LHR, and QR4 & QR6 from LHR to DOH
- 1x daily to Paris Charles de Gaulle (CDG) as of December 15, 2021; this includes QR39 from DOH to CDG, and QR40 from CDG to DOH
I imagine these aren’t the only routes that will get A380s, and for that matter we could even see A380 service start before that. However, these are the first routes to have the A380 once again loaded.
It’s not surprising to see Qatar Airways put the A380 on the London and Paris routes, since these were historically the primary routes to have the planes. In the past the A380 was also frequently on Australia routes, though with border restrictions up in the air, I don’t think we’ll necessarily see a return of that.
We’ve never seen Qatar Airways operate A380s to the United States on a regularly scheduled basis, so I doubt it’ll happen this time either, but you never know.
Is the return of the A380 good or bad for passengers?
As a fan of A380s, I’m always excited to see when the planes have a bit more life left in them. So I’m excited to see Qatar Airways bring back the A380. A380 avgeek nostalgia aside, what does the plane mean for the passenger experience?
The A380 is Qatar Airways’ only aircraft to feature long haul first class, so the return of the A380 will also mark the return of Qatar Airways’ proper first class product. I suppose that’s exciting, but then again, Qatar Airways’ business class is so excellent as well.
In business class, Qatar Airways has pretty standard reverse herringbone seats on the A380. While a solid product, this isn’t as good as Qatar Airways’ Qsuites business class, which was never installed on the plane.
On the plus side, the A380 does feature an absolutely gorgeous bar at the back of business class, where many passengers enjoy hanging out.
In economy the A380 is a great ride, given the quiet and large cabin, and the overall seat width and layout.
Qatar Airways will be bringing back at least five Airbus A380s as of late 2021, due to the grounding of over a dozen Airbus A350s. Qatar Airways had previously committed to retiring at least five A380s, and possibly never flying the planes again, so it’s exciting to see that these super jumbos are making a return.
The airline has now loaded at least a few daily A380 flights into the schedule as of mid-December 2021. The airline will fly A380s twice daily to London, and once daily to Paris.
What do you make of Qatar Airways bringing back the A380?
(Tip of the hat to @IshrionA)
Does anyone know why QR isn't selling F on the CDG DOH flights in December 2022 (around the World Cup) ? they are selling F to LHR, but only J to CDG - given it's not possible to upgrade J-->F to/from LHR, it means CDG would be only other option.
Qantas has flown the A380 from DFW- Sydney for years.
Just seen I am flying the A380 club class from Doha to Heathrow in January. actually buzzing!
Has Qatar changed its policy on face masks in Business/First?
I travelled on 30 sep on qatar airways with a group of about 38 doctors, paramedic and support staff to karbala and back. Due to change in flight schedule after emd was paid to the airline, my group stay at doha was increased to 20 hours. Qatar Airways offered us a 30 Dirham voucher for one meal only in 20 hours and even we had to buy water. Those who happened to had experience of...
I travelled on 30 sep on qatar airways with a group of about 38 doctors, paramedic and support staff to karbala and back. Due to change in flight schedule after emd was paid to the airline, my group stay at doha was increased to 20 hours. Qatar Airways offered us a 30 Dirham voucher for one meal only in 20 hours and even we had to buy water. Those who happened to had experience of buying food in food court of doha airport know how meagre this amount is where a small water bottle is of $2. We went to transfer desk supervisor Muhammed Jhegam to get atleast one more meal but he flatly and arrogantly refused to help us. Infact some water bottles were being given at the customer desk in front of gate c13. But when members of our group started to approach the desk, the gentleman at that desk warned our group members to not to approach him any more. My understanding is that As per IATA rules we should have been accommodated in hotel. We all were fully vaccinated, pcr negative and associated with medical profession in one form or the other. It is mind boggling how much moral bankrupt qatar airways management has become and to observe their inhuman behaviour against all courtesies and traditional Arab hospitality.
So beware folks Qatar airways is not what it use to be and make a conscious decision before believing in what they say in ads and their campaign because my experience is that they have become arrogant and inhospitable.
I have found Qatar's First Class to be one of the most underwhelming products, followed by American, in its class. The food and service leave a lot to desire. I would honestly prefer AI's first class since you at least get wonderful hospitality, despite the product lacking significantly compared to its peers.
Yes, you can see A380, but you can’t book a first class seat…
"We’ve never seen Qatar Airways operate A380s to the United States on a regularly scheduled basis, so I doubt it’ll happen this time either, but you never know."
That one time in 2016 QR flew the 388 to Atlanta just to show up DL was pretty sweet!
So, flying by first class would give us free access to Al Safwa lounge in Doha then?
seems small for first class. I flew Qantas first class in an A380, very spacious, 2 can dine together
Are first class award seats open on these routes?
I don’t get this obsession with the QSuite, other than a door what does it actually offer other than a narrow seat that lays flat? With feet trapped inside small cubicles? And for those complaining there is not enough privacy in the First class seats? Like seriously with the privacy barrier up and lights turned off I’m sure no one is that interested in seeing your feet covered by a duvet. Which again you would...
I don’t get this obsession with the QSuite, other than a door what does it actually offer other than a narrow seat that lays flat? With feet trapped inside small cubicles? And for those complaining there is not enough privacy in the First class seats? Like seriously with the privacy barrier up and lights turned off I’m sure no one is that interested in seeing your feet covered by a duvet. Which again you would only see if you were sitting up or walking in the cabin. If QR had some brains they could easily install some Air France La Premiere style curtains around the First class seats for added privacy
Good comment. My recent experience in QSuites has been great. Very attentive service and excellent food. Beyond that and the door the seat is average at best.
Upstairs on the Qatar A380 economy section at the back is the best economy experience I've ever had. 2 seats together by the window without the pain of another passenger next to us, storage box by the window and plenty of legroom, combined with excellent service from 2 dedicated cabin crew for only 10 or so rows of seats. It can't be beaten!
Very similar to Air France (A380) I flew 8 years ago from DC.
With South African out-of-business, seems logical to see the A380 (a plane I love), in the JNB routing.
Considering this First Class is way worse than the QSuite Business Class, no thanks.
Having flown both.. This first class product is leagues ahead of the Qsuite unless all you care about is personal privacy. Much more spacious and comfortable seat and bed.
I feel QR will reinstate the A380 to LHR & CDG. LHR especially for the capacity, demand, & those who are willing to pay to fly in P (F). If they add JFK, that will take two A380 leaving one additional frame. Perhaps SYD when demand increases & since it’s a OW hub, but it too will need two frames too operate. I don’t see them sending it to LAX. Will they continue flying x2 daily? LAX has always been B77W & now is A35K & A359.
Only 2 weeks ago they said the A 380 was not going to fly again.
I said, not even for the WC Football ?
Maybe the A350 paint job drama
is going to bite them them in the
Looks like I was right
Who knows if the First Class will be sold or even opened for seating. Just like the bar.
Thanks AJ! Great news, and added to my budget!
Joe, QR first class lounge is open, for a fee as of August.
Aha! Maybe a 2nd chance for Qatar First Class :-). (From cancelled 2020 RTW)
Let’s hope Tokyo to Doha in July next year. I’d swap out the Qsuites currently ticketed
Although not necessary for First Class Lounge in Doha since my short hope to Abu Dhabi is in First ;-)
Still, I do not see this as being permanent, and I doubt the A380s will last beyond 2022, given how Akbar al-Baker has vociferously been opposed to flying these gas-guzzlers. The A380s are coming back only because the A350s are facing several issues. This is exactly the kind of issue for which Lufthansa said that it *might* bring back its A380s (in the event of unexpected demand recovery).
Darn. We're off to Maldives next month, so will miss out. QSuites it is.
Really though I was just hoping to visit the FCL at Doha, which has been closed since last year.
Fingers crossed that this will inspire Etihad to do the same
The a380s are a cool aircraft with a nice suite of something that is a great idea to move forward or so!
Hope they fill the gaps left by dying Etihad and have this aircraft for a daily JFK route.
For those of us booked into a QSuite on an A350, it too much to expect to be placed in first when they switch to the 380, I suppose.
That lady's been holding up that bottle for years. Her arms must be pretty tired by now.
haha - although it's a cocktail shaker and not a bottle :p
So there is a problem with the new a350 that the media does not discuss, interesting, its the first i have heard of this.
I think we will definitely see 2x Heathrow daily, 1x to Sydney (summer demand/depending on if borer opens up) and maybe 1x to LAX or JFK.
The LHR and Sydney were the obvious returns. I think CDG will be the other returnee though. Those seem to be the highest frequency routes and so the ones you would expect to get favour over the relative lack of seats to the US.
I’m sure Australia will again feature heavily If the government allows its residents to travel over the Christmas and NY holiday period, however I’m not that hopeful it will eventuate
A Christmas Day!