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Saturday, January 28, 2023

Qatar Airways Reintroduces A380s as 19 A350s Sit Grounded

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Due to a capacity issue created by the grounding of Airbus A350s, Qatar Airways plans to “reluctantly” restore five of its ten grounded Airbus A380s to temporary operation. On December 15, the airline plans to put the superjumbos on “key winter routes,” such as London Heathrow and Paris Charles de Gaulle airports.

Earlier this week, a Qatar Airways A380 ascended to the skies for the first time in over 18 months, flying from Doha International Airport to Hamad International Airport.

As required by the Qatar Civil Aviation Authority, the Qatari national airline recently grounded 19 of its Airbus A350s due to an accelerated surface deterioration problem affecting the composite aircraft’s surface below the paint (QCAA).

The airline, which now flies to 140 locations, recently reintroduced a number of its A330 aircraft following a continuous growth in capacity demand due to the relaxation of travel restrictions and the forthcoming peak winter vacation season, which Qatar expects to return to pre-Covid levels.

“The recent grounding of 19 [of the] Qatar Airways A350 fleet has left us with no alternative but to temporarily bring some of our A380 fleet back on key winter routes,” stated Qatar Airways CEO Akbar Al Baker.

“These groundings are due to an ongoing issue with the accelerated degradation of the fuselage surface beneath the paint, which is still an unresolved concern between Qatar Airways and the manufacturer, with no clear root cause.”

“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 was grounded in favor of more fuel-efficient, twin-engine aircraft at the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic.”

Al Baker also stated that the airline continues to “strongly urge” Airbus to prioritize its investigations into the underlying cause of the A350 issue and to present a lasting solution to repair the damage as soon as possible.

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