Qatar Airways Reveals A380 Retirement Plans

Filed Under: Qatar

Earlier I wrote about how it’s rumored that the end of Airbus A380 production will soon be announced. Somewhat unrelated to that, there’s an interesting announcement from Akbar Al Baker, Qatar Airways’ CEO.

While Qatar Airways has been the launch customer for a couple of planes, the A380 wasn’t among them. Instead the airline took delivery of their first A380 in 2014, and I was lucky enough to be on the inaugural flight from Doha to London in October 2014.

Qatar Airways has a total of 10 Airbus A380s in their fleet. So that’s obviously not a huge fleet, especially in comparison to Emirates. Currently Qatar Airways uses the A380s for their flights to Bangkok, Frankfurt, Guangzhou, London, Melbourne, Paris, Perth, and Sydney.

Anyway, Aviation Analyst reports that Qatar Airways plans to retire their A380s at the ten year mark, meaning that they’ll start to retire A380s in 2024.

This doesn’t come as a huge surprise, given that Qatar Airways has one of the youngest fleets in the world. Qatar Airways’ average fleet age is under six years, and their average A380 age at this point is under 3.5 years, meaning they have the youngest A380 fleet of any airline. Their A380s have been delivered between September 2014 and April 2018.

So it’s not like retirement for Qatar Airways’ A380s is imminent, but it is interesting to see that as of now the plan is for them to retire these planes at the 10 year mark, and they don’t see much chance of the plane being picked up on the secondhand market.

Qatar Airways’ plan is to replace the A380s with the 777X. Qatar Airways has 60 of these on order, including 10 777-8s and 50 777-9s. These planes will be high capacity and long range, and should work well for the airline.

What remains to be seen is whether Qatar Airways offers first class on their new 777s. My money is on them not offering it. Qatar Airways has the world’s best business class, and by comparison their first class is just alright. It’s only available on the A380, and it’s actually less private than their Qsuites business class.

Qatar Airways’ A380 first class

Qatar Airways’ A380 business class

In the past Al Baker has gone on the record as saying that there is no need for first class at the airline, so I’d expect that to be the case on their upcoming 777s, unless they gain some new inspiration.

Bottom line

Qatar Airways will retire their A380s at the 10 year mark, meaning they’ll be retired between 2024 and 2028, though I imagine that remains subject to change. This doesn’t come as a surprise, given how young Qatar Airways’ fleet is, so it makes sense that they’ll be replaced by 777Xs.

Are you surprised by Qatar’s A380 retirement plans?

(Tip of the hat to Nick)

  1. I’ve always thought akbar al baker was stupid based on comments regarding FAs and oneworld, but this has to be the most idiotic thing he has ever said. He should be removed as CEO!

  2. Not a huge surprise here. I always got the feeling that both Qatar and Etihad didn’t utilize their A380s in a way that made financial sense or in a way to maximize their overall strategy as only really Emirates did. For Qatar and Etihad getting the A380 was a way of saying “hey, we also have the world’s largest jet! We are a competitor of Emirates, look at us too!”

    And for Qatar and Al Baker in particular, a tool to rub salt in Delta’s face.

  3. don’t hate the player hate the game-is writing specifically to be placed higher on google an artistic sell out? yeah, of course but this guy is here to make the $$ and he is doing a damn good job of it. Unless he starts up autoplay videos then I’ll gladly come here to kill a few mins.

  4. I agree- quit hating on Lucky. He hasn’t sold out like the points guy.. The guy puts out a lot of content and it’s broadened our outlook on the world in the process. Not bad.

  5. @Callum et al,
    Search engine optimizing is legit – The only professional and legal no-no is if you are receiving any money (or other incentive) from the company you are writing about and do not disclose it.

  6. The search engine optimization stuff are the worst thing about this blog, I think lucky read a book one day about that and he following it to the letter, have you notice how all posts starts with 3-4 paragraphs with unnecessary links to previous articles??

  7. @ adi_T

    The points guy has done a ton for the points arena that we all love- no doubt. He has just gotten real soft on all the good insight. It seems like he’s so in bed with Chase, Amex and Marriott for example that he won’t give you any real good insight anymore. Now it’s all very politically correct and protective of those companies. He also sold to a media company. That’s why you see it going so much more mainstream and now they have a ton of articles every day about everything under the sun. Not bad at all, but it’s moved from his original roots of giving us the real inside track on great points hacks and deals. That’s why I hate people busting on Lucky for trying to make a living, because in my eyes he is still “keeping it real” in regards to all the points hacks. He hasn’t sold out to a large media company (again, I don’t blame thepointsguy, it just changed the content that I loved). Anyways, just my two cents. Have a nice day 🙂

  8. The A380 was p***s-envy from the get-go: as a new consolidation of state-countries, what better-sounding thing for the EU to do than shove the US with a bigger 4-holer jet than the 747? The logistics of transporting subassemblies was hell enough (“The A380 Highway”), then there were the usual growing pains associated with a new, mammoth design. In the end, it was all ego, image and hype that buoyed hope, false as it was. The age of the jumbo 4-engined passenger jet was sunsetting, as it is for the 747 and it did for the A340…too early there, as well. The A380 will die because of not only poor timing but because it spent more time in the shop tha in the air compared to other aircraft. Not a way to turn a profit. I neither love nor hate the A380, but what IS loatheworthy is the attitude of the boorish, subintelligent parents who conceived it. The European taxpayer is gonna eat this failure, and they shouldn’t have to. Bad timing, Airbus.

  9. Should Qatar do away with the A380, which is their only aircraft with first class, what will they do with their first class lounge in Doha which they have made oh so restrictive?

  10. If somebody tried the bar or the lavatory of business or first class know that this plane have no comparison. it’s a premium experience.
    Space and efficient for boarding (when 3 Jetway are used). More quiet and less subject to disturb your sleep when flying.

    Qatar for sure never scheduled this plane with efficiency, so much schedule change that you cannot be sure you will end with this plane. So I did not bother to try to catch this plane on the usual route anymore.

  11. How on Earth am I “hating” on Lucky by asking a question? (A phrase I hate incidentally – are you all teenage girls?)

    I didn’t say he’s doing anything wrong or demand he changes, I was simply asking why he writes like he does. His writing is getting INCREDIBLY repetitive, with airline names and the same points being repeated over and over again in each article and it’s starting to get irritating enough that reading it is unpleasant.

  12. @Phred yes there assembly is idiocrasy plain and simple – its like EU moving HQ twice a year to please governments, that is what happens when states subsidies manufacturing.
    And UK leaving EU where the wingset for the A380 (and the rest of the 300 serie) is manufactured dosent make it easier.
    Hopefully we will see it as it was meant to be, A workhorse with 850 seats, when they are retired at the big airlines, then the real value with a low fuel consumption per pax will be seen.

    PS. With bizz seat as Qatar has you dont need F, only for the ground experience.

  13. @crosscourt

    They operate many “first class” flights, though many of them are regional flights in a business class product. So you’d still get access to the first class lounge on that basis. With the blockade, though, many of those routes aren’t being used, but quite a few of them still remain.

  14. Not sure on the comment about Qatar using their A380s badly – they are perfect for the Sydney route (limited slots) and Biz is always full

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *