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, 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 within as soon as five years’ time.

“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 aeroplanes 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 an indication from Al Baker that Qatar Airways doesn’t see its future with the A380 in its fleet, confirming that the first could be enter retirement as soon as 2024.

If you simply love the A380 and would fly its business class without it being a Qsuite, here are the flight numbers and times of the A380 routes between the UK to Doha (DOH):

  • QR3 Doha (DOH) 7:50am Departure → London (LHR) 1:15pm Arrival
  • QR4 London (LHR) 3:05pm Departure → Doha (DOH) 12:05am (+1) Arrival
  • QR9 Doha (DOH) 1:40am Departure → London (LHR) 7:05am Arrival
  • QR10 London (LHR) 9:15am Departure → Doha (DOH) 6:15pm Arrival

Remember, you can book Qatar Airways using your Avios. The airline operates direct flights to Doha (DOH) from Birmingham, (BHX), Cardiff (CWL), Edinburgh (EDI), London (LGW, LHR) and Manchester (MAN). If you don’t have quite enough miles for a business class ticket, cash fares can be very good value, and the airline’s A380 economy class product is really quite good.

The decision from Qatar to signal the end of days are 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 towards smaller, greener more economical replacements, with longer range and less capacity. It’s not all doom and gloom for the super jumbo, 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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