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Monday, August 2, 2021

Qatar Airways takes first A380 ahead of tomorrow’s Doha touchdown

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A380 3 - Qatar Airways

Qatar Airways has taken receipt of the first of its long-awaited A380 aircraft in Hamburg, and the super-jumbo is expected to make its first official flight in full livery to Doha tomorrow.

The national carrier’s inaugural commercial flight to London Heathrow will take place on Oct. 10, four months later than initially planned.

Business Traveller reports airline CEO Akbar Al Baker saying that the Doha to Paris route would also start later in October.

However, over the weekend, flight tracker Airline Route reported that Qatar Airways pushed back its the first A380 service bookings for Doha to Paris for another two weeks – from Oct. 16 to Nov. 1.

Meanwhile, Al Baker seemed keen yesterday to smooth over earlier disputes with Airbus, saying the plane maker was not to blame for the delays to the delivery of the aircraft.

Backtracking on previous remarks made in July, he added that that the postponement was due to Qatar Airways’ commitment to quality.

Delays

Qatar Airways had 10 firm orders and three options for the A380s. It initially planned to receive three of its order of 13 A380 super-jumbos in June, but the delivery dates have been repeatedly pushed back.

This was due to issues related to the cabin, including paint in some areas having a bubbled texture, joint lines on wallpaper and some gaps in non-textile floor coverings believed to be in the galley.

There were also problems with leaky seals on the aircraft’s doors, which created excessive cabin noise.

Reuters reported Airbus CEO Fabrice Bregier as confirming yesterday that the first three Qatar Airways A380s had undergone an interim fix for the leaky seals, but a permanent design change would only be implemented starting with the airline’s fourth aircraft, which is due to be delivered later this year.

Airbus has designed a new plate for the door frames and will install them once it has received safety approval.

At the Farnborough airshow in the UK in July, Al Baker put pressure on Airbus to resolve the problems, saying he refused to place any new orders with the company until the issue was dealt with.

At yesterday’s Hamburg handover ceremony, Al Baker reportedly said that he would decide soon on whether to confirm the options, and hinted that further orders could be placed with Airbus.

“Once delivered, we will see its performance and, if it exceeds our expectations, we will firm up the three airplanes and maybe take some more,” he is quoted by industry source Flight Global as saying.

Cabin layout

Once operational, the A380s will have 517 seats – 461 in economy, 48 in business class and just eight in first class.

Inside the A380 Qatar Airways First Class cabin
Inside the A380 Qatar Airways First Class cabin

In an apparent response to Gulf rival Etihad, which earlier this year revealed it would have super-luxe personal suites on its A380s, Al Baker reportedly apologized for not offering “residences, butlers or suites,” saying that instead, Qatar’s interiors had “class.”

The national carrier’s first and business class cabins – and a special lounge area for premium passengers at the rear of business class – are located on the aircraft’s upper deck, with economy seating being split between both floors of the aircraft.

Meanwhile, delivery of the smaller A350 planes appears to be on schedule, with Qatar Airways due to take receipt of the first of the aircraft before the end of the year.

Last month, the airline issued the first photos of the newly-liveried planes, to great anticipation from aviation experts and enthusiasts.

With Qatar Airways’ ongoing expansion of its fleet, Hamad International Airport reported an increase in footfall of more than 11 percent this July, compared to the same period at Doha International Airport last year.

A total of 2,160,843 passengers arrived, departed or transited through the new airport.

Are you excited to fly on the A380? Thoughts?

16 COMMENTS

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MN
MN
6 years ago

So the A380 is only available for Doha/London and Doha/Paris?

fullmoon07
fullmoon07
6 years ago
Reply to  MN

…yes they have a very little number. If you want to travel better and to many other destinations served by A380 I suggest you choose Emirates or Ethiad, less expensive and better service

Jaded
Jaded
6 years ago
Reply to  fullmoon07

I can second that regarding Eithad, great experience with them, Emirates also but more expensive than Etihad

Shabina921
Shabina921
6 years ago
Reply to  MN

For now. Doha/New York is coming up, and I presume other destinations once the rest of the planes come in.

fullmoon07
fullmoon07
6 years ago

a fantastic airplane, but on QA one still with disgusting sloppy food

Huzz
Huzz
6 years ago
Reply to  fullmoon07

Cannot agree with you on this one. Granted, economy food is not great anywhere but the business food is pretty good.

Enceladus
Enceladus
6 years ago
Reply to  Huzz

Agree.

fullmoon07
fullmoon07
6 years ago
Reply to  Huzz

in Emirates food is quite decent in economy. Yes also QA first class food is amazing, but that’s not the point. With what they extort us with tickets (extortion!) they could provide better food and better service. Smelly dirty planes with entertainment not working in long flights……

AEC
AEC
6 years ago
Reply to  fullmoon07

They not interested in out of DOH traffic. It is the through flights that make the money.

fullmoon07
fullmoon07
6 years ago
Reply to  AEC

well we can tell, if you refer to QA. In fact, it is not a 5-star airline…they are just very good in buying stars!

DEEM
DEEM
6 years ago

now that I would like to see. anyone know what time she arrives?

Shabina921
Shabina921
6 years ago
Reply to  DEEM

The press event starts after 4p.

Update: Just saw a QR statement that says the plane will fly over the Corniche around 4:30pm today (Thursday, Sept. 18).

Ben
Ben
6 years ago

To be honest, I am not even that big a fan of the A380. Prefer the smaller ones.

AEC
AEC
6 years ago

Where do you find A380 pilots when you get these new planes? I would have thought they’re all gainfully employed already..

Myrddin
Myrddin
6 years ago
Reply to  AEC

The pilots are easy to find – it’s the German Shepherd Dogs, who sit in the right hand seat, that are a little bit more tricky to recruit.

In-Joke!

Myrddin
Myrddin
6 years ago

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