Travelers hoping to fly on Qatar Airways’ new A380s may have to wait until the fall to do it. According to the latest route update, the national carrier has postponed its first flights on the super-jumbos until October.
The airline initially planned to receive three of its order of 13 A380s in June, to be flown first to London Heathrow, and subsequently to Paris and New York.
But in May, route updates indicated that Qatar Airways would be delaying its launch of the world’s largest passenger aircraft to July 1. That later got pushed to August. Over the weekend, airlineroute.net showed a Sept. 1 takeoff date.
But yesterday, the route was updated again to reflect that the airline’s first A380 would fly on Oct. 1 to London Heathrow. And the aircraft’s flight to the Charles de Gaulle Airport in Paris is now expected to take off on Oct. 15.
When the airline’s A380 does enter service, the super-jumbos are expected to take over flight numbers QR003 and QR004, which leave Doha at 7:55am, and return from London at 3:05pm, respectively.
Airline Routes states:
“Although further changes remains highly possible, current inventory listing shows all 3-class of service are open for reservation (based on Doha departure), on/after 01OCT14. For the month of September 2014, QR003/004 is operated by Airbus A340-600 aircraft.”
Interior cabin issues
Qatar Airways has not officially commented on this latest delay, but in late May, CEO Akbar Al Baker warned that it would be several weeks before the planes were ready.
In a statement to Reuters, he said:
“It is customary for the inspection process of delivering a new aircraft to an airline to go through several rounds, and this is not deemed to be an unusual case, though this will lead to a delay of several weeks before its first scheduled commercial route will commence service.”
He added that the delay is because of “issues with the interior of the cabin.”
Airbus confirmed the delay to Reuters, saying it is “fine-tuning” the aircraft and that “new dates will be communicated once confirmed.”
The lack of further clarification about when the carrier would begin flying the A380s has been frustrating for some travelers, who are excited to try out the new planes.
— Mohammed Makki (@Makks) July 7, 2014
Meanwhile, Bloomberg stated that Japanese carrier Skymark Airlines expected its delivery of the A380s to be delayed by as much as six months due to problems with the plane’s interiors.
However, Al Baker indicated that his airline wouldn’t be waiting that long: “If it was six months, we would have walked away,” he said.
HIA has six double-decker gates for the A380, as well as an aircraft maintenance hangar that can hold two of the huge aircraft at once.
Once up and running, Qatar Airways’ A380 will have 517 seats in all – 457 in economy, 52 in business and eight in first class.
Its first and business class cabins – and a special lounge area for premium passengers – will both be located on the aircraft’s upper deck, with economy seating being split between both floors of the aircraft.
Qatar’s national carrier will not be the first regional airline to fly A380s. Dubai-based Emirates Airline has 47 of these aircraft, and Etihad is also expected to receive its first A380s this year.