Qatar Airways Will Not Retrofit A380s With Qsuite, Signals Early Retirement

Jun 25, 2019

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While the Airbus A380 program has an end date in sight, many carriers are still flying the aircraft — Air France, Lufthansa, Qantas and Qatar, among others. Despite Qatar Airways’ original plans, the airline’s CEO Akbar Al Baker, said that the carrier will not be upgrading its A380 business-class product to the Qsuite, as it’ll be retiring the fleet in as soon as five years.

“We feel that the aircraft does not have very long future in Qatar Airways’ fleet,” Al Baker said, according to Australian Business Traveller. “We would think about retiring those airplanes on their 10th anniversary, unless something untoward happens and we need them.”

The current business-class seat installed on Qatar’s A380 is one of the worst that Qatar offers. Given the high density of the business-class cabin, it usually makes for poorer service. Meanwhile, the option that Qatar decided not to retrofit the aircraft with, Qsuite, is often regarded as the best business class in the sky.

(Photo by Eric Rosen/The Points Guy)
(Photo by Eric Rosen/The Points Guy)

The move is another indication from Al Baker that Qatar Airways doesn’t see a future with the A380 in its fleet, confirming that the first could enter retirement as soon as 2024.

The decision from Qatar to signal the end is near for the A380 follows a similar decision from Air France. Over the weekend, Air France-KLM CEO Ben Smith said that the carrier’s considering retiring its A380s sooner than anticipated, also without a retrofit to its dated business-class cabin.

Retirement of the A380 across the board is inevitable, as the industry is leaning toward smaller, more economical replacements, with longer range and less capacity. It’s not all doom and gloom for the superjumbo, however. Emirates has 110 A380s in its fleet, with 13 more on order, and will continue to fly its business-class and first-class products for years to come. Qantas is also currently in the process of refurbishing its A380 business-class product, which will enter service in September.

Featured photo by Eric Rosen/The Points Guy.

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