Qatar’s First A380 to be Delayed
Qatar Airways and Airbus said the carrier’s first Airbus A380 jumbo jet would be delayed late last week. The news followed the opening of the airline’s new main hub, Hamad International Airport, in Doha.
The European airframe manufacturer said that the plane needed some finishing touches and the news was widely viewed as a setback as Qatar prepared to host the annual general meeting of the International Air Transport Association starting Sunday.
“Qatar Airways and Airbus have agreed to some fine tuning elements on the first A380 to be delivered to Qatar,” said Airbus in a statement. “This will impact the delivery and entry into service dates. New dates will be communicated once confirmed.”
Qatar was originally slated to take delivery of its first three superjumbos in June and plans to operate them on routes linking Doha with London and Paris. Qatar competitor Emirates will get its 50th A380 shortly, and Etihad Airways will also get its first A380 this year.
Qatar Airways did not reply to an e-mail and phone call asking for comment.
Last week, after a decade of construction, Hamad International Airport in Doha finally began full operations. The airport, which will eventually occupy 7.7 square miles (29 square kilometers), cost an estimated $15 billion, and will be able to handle 50 million passengers annually. Among other amenities, it will have public spaces for art exhibitions, an aquatic-themed mosque, and a VIP terminal with a design said to be inspired by Arabian sailboats.
(Photo: Accura Media Group)