BERLIN: Qatar Airways, which plans to start flying the Airbus A380 to Europe this summer, may expand its order for the largest jetliner but is not interested in using it on the longest routes, Chief Executive Akbar Al Baker said yesterday.
The airline has ordered 10 A380s and is getting ready to take delivery of the first three in June. It has options to increase the order to 13 but has time to make a decision, Al Baker said.
“We could even order more (on top of existing options) if we feel that this aircraft is a really good performer,” he said on the sidelines of the ITB Berlin tourism fair. “We want to take delivery and see how it is operating in our environment with our yields and our traffic pattern.”
Explaining why the airline has decided against flying to Los Angeles while introducing three new US routes, he said, “I will only go if I cover my costs... I would not necessarily want to make a big profit but at least I don’t want to lose.
“If you go those long distances, especially with an A380, you will lose your shirt, because the A380 is very expensive to operate on ultra-long haul. Unless you get the right yield, you won’t make a profit on it.
“That is why we have a very small number of A380s. The A380s were very good when the fuel price was 30, 40, 50 dollars a barrel, but when you have to spend $100-120 for fuel it becomes very difficult.”
The airline will inaugurate A380 services starting with London and then two other “probably European” destinations Al Baker declined to name. REUTERS