Qatar Airways chief executive Akbar Al Baker said at an aviation industry forum this week that the decision was driven by concerns about environmental impact.
“I think the A380 is one of the worst airplanes when it comes to the emissions they cause,” Al Baker said while attending the CAPA Live aviation event on January 13th.
He said, “That is why we decided that we will not operate it in the foreseeable future, and even when we operate it, we will only employ half of the number that we have.”
The two-story aircraft can seat 815 passengers, although the typical seating arrangement means that they usually accommodate up to 525 passengers.
Four-engine aircraft are popular with air travelers, but they are more expensive to operate at the best of times, and are simply too large to operate in the present day in an era of pandemic.
When Airbus announced in 2019 that it would stop delivering A380s in 2021, the European manufacturer delivered only 234 of the aircraft, which is less than half the expected number of planes, or 600, when the two-deck aircraft were launched in 2007 year.
Despite this, the exceptional circumstances of the Coronavirus mean that the giant fleets will disappear from our airspace sooner than expected.
Airlines including “Lufthansa” and “Qantas” and British Airways and Air France grounded their giant planes when the epidemic hit the world last spring.
Speaking during CAPA Live, Al Baker praised the performance of long-range aircraft, which are smaller and more economical.
“The A350 and B787 are very efficient when it comes to emissions, especially the A350-1000, which exceeded our expectations with the efficiency that they produce today,” he said.
Qatar Airways owns a fleet of 53 “A350” aircraft, serving more than 45 destinations in the airline’s network, including Johannesburg, London, Melbourne, New York, Paris, Sao Paulo and Singapore.
The airline has launched a program that allows passengers to optionally offset the carbon emissions associated with their flight at the point of booking their ticket.
The airline is part of the Oneworld airline alliance, along with airlines, including American Airlines and British Airways, which have committed to zero carbon emissions by 2050.