Qatar Airways has flown one of its Airbus A380s for the first time since the fleet was grounded at the height of the pandemic. Its aircraft, A7-APG, was ferried from the old Doha Airport where it had been in storage to the new Doha International Airport right next door.
A Qatar Airways Airbus A380 returned to the skies for a ferry flight today. Photo: Qatar Airways
At the height of the pandemic, many carriers from around the globe opted to ground their Airbus A380 aircraft. Some are now bringing the aircraft back, including Singapore Airlines and British Airways in November. Qatar Airways was not expected to bring the A380, but the Doha-based carrier is now proving there is still a place for the giant of the skies in its fleet.
Back in the skies
Just this morning, the Qatar Airways Airbus A380 returned to the skies, albeit for a very brief moment. According to FlightRadar24.com, the aircraft registered as A7-APG took off at 11:55 this morning.
The aircraft gave its engines a good spin as it flew past Doha over the Persian Gulf before landing once more on the other side of the airport. The plane was moved from Doha International Airport to the adjacent Hamad International Airport.
Our A380 is back in the skies. ✈️
Coming soon: 🇬🇧🇫🇷 pic.twitter.com/LPDSBmEV2H
— Qatar Airways (@qatarairways) November 2, 2021
Qatar Airways has been storing aircraft at Doha International Airport, as all its commercial operations occur from Hamad. Despite being adjacent, the two are separated by a major highway with no taxiways connecting them. The aircraft touched down across the road at 12:20 after 25 minutes in the skies.
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According to ch-aviation.com, A7-APG is a 5.41-year-old A380, having first flown in June 2016. The jet was delivered in December of that year and contains a three-class configuration consisting of economy (461 seats), business class (48 seats), and first class (eight seats). So far, it has flown just 17,424 hours (1.99 years) across 2,007 flight cycles, making it worth $58.84 million.
The return plan
Qatar Airways will initially bring a handful of its fleet back to assist with its highest-demand routes. From December 15th, the airline will begin flying the jet to London Heathrow twice a day and Paris Charles De Gaulle daily. Interestingly, these two cities were also the first to receive Emirates’ A380s when they returned to the skies last summer.
Qatar Airways’ CEO had been incredibly critical of the jet over the past year. Photo: Airbus
That Qatar Airways is even flying the A380s at all is a surprise. The airline group’s CEO, Akbar Al Baker, had been highly critical of the jet during its grounding, going as far as to tell Simple Flying that buying the giant off of Airbus had been the airline’s biggest ever mistake.
For the time being, the Airbus A380 has been placed onto the Qatar Airways schedule through to October 2022. Paris maintains its daily service, while Heathrow remains double daily until the IATA summer schedule kicks off in late March, where it will drop to once a day.
Are you excited to see the Qatar Airways Airbus A380 back in the skies? Let us know what you think and why in the comments!
Article Source simpleflying.com