As the latest nail in the coffin for the world’s largest passenger airliner, Qatar Airways has confirmed it will be retiring half of its fleet of 10 Airbus A380s, which have already been grounded since March last year.
Qatar Airways CEO Akbar Al Baker told an aviation industry forum this week that the decision is motivated by concerns about the environmental impact, CNN reported.
“The A380, I think, is one of the worst aircraft in terms of emissions in circulation today. That’s why we’ve decided that we won’t be operating them in the immediate future and that even when we do operate them, we’ll only be operating half the numbers we have,” Al Baker said at the CAPA Live aviation event.
The giant double-decker aircraft have a capacity of 853 passengers, although the typical seating configuration means that they typically accommodate up to 525.
Popular with air travelers but expensive to operate at best, four-engine aircraft are simply too large for current demand in the pandemic era.
Qatar Airways said that until passenger demand recovers to adequate levels, the airline will continue to keep its A380s on the ground.
Speaking at CAPA Live, Al Baker praised the performance of the smaller, more economical long-range aircraft.
“The A350 and B787 are very efficient aircraft in terms of emissions, especially the A350-1000, which exceeded our expectations with the efficiency it is producing today,” he said.