The super-jumbo Airbus A380’s debut with Qatar Airways has been pushed back yet again, due to problems with the aircraft’s cabin, the national carrier’s CEO has confirmed.
It is now expected that the Qatar Airways inaugural flight of the world’s largest passenger aircraft will not take place until at least Aug. 1, according to online schedules for the airline – despite an expected July launch date.
Qatar Airways would not confirm a revised date for the first flight. But in a statement, the airline’s CEO Akbar Al Baker did acknowledge a fresh delay, saying:
“The delivery of Qatar Airways’ first three A380 aircraft has been further delayed as certain elements of the aircraft are being finalized to meet the high standards and expectations of Qatar Airways.”
He added that “certain issues affecting the interior of the cabin which were identified during the airline’s standard aircraft delivery process which includes rigorous inspections by its specialist technical team.”
Resolving the issues would “lead to an unfortunate delay of several weeks before Qatar Airways flagship aircraft will commence commercial service,” Al Baker concluded.
Meanwhile, the launch of the Doha-Paris Charles de Gaulle route on the A380 has also been delayed until at Aug. 15, at the earliest.
There is no further information on the launch of the A380 Doha to New York flight, which last month Al Baker confirmed to Doha News was in the works.
The Qatar national carrier has had to push back plans to take delivery of the aircraft several times over the last few months, due to unresolved issues.
It first formally announced the “highly anticipated arrival” of the first batch of three of a total of 13 A380 aircraft in a statement at the end of April. At that time, the debut flight to London had been scheduled for June 17.
However, at the end of May, flight schedules for the airline showed this had been pushed back to July 1. At the time, Qatar Airways did not comment on the delay.
The delivery of these super-jumbos is more than six months late, due to the delayed launch of Hamad International Airport, which finally opened its doors to all airlines, including Qatar Airways, last month.
When the A380 does enter service, the aircraft is expected to take over flight numbers QR003 and QR004, which leave Doha at 7:55am, and return from London at 3:05pm, respectively.
Qatar Airways’ A380 will have 517 seats in all over two decks – 457 in economy, split between the upper and lower decks, 52 in business and eight in first class, all on the upper deck.
Qatar Airways is in the midst of significant growth, as it plans to expand its current fleet of 131 with a further 300 aircraft, worth $50 billion, on order.
It plans to receive the first of its order of 80 A350 aircraft later this year, and also has orders in for more Boeing 787s and for the 777X.
Will this delay affect your travel plans? Thoughts?