Qatar Airways A380s in 2023: Routes, Fleet & Retirement Plans

While all three of the large Middle Eastern airlines own Airbus A380s, Emirates is the only one to have found a successful way to utilize them. As such, it was no surprise when Qatar Airways seemingly grounded its A380s for good as the COVID-19 pandemic brought travel to a halt.

As travel started to recover, however, Qatar Airways found itself lacking the capacity needed to serve all the demand – in part due to problems with its A350s – and so decided to reactivate some of the A380s for the time being. Continue reading to find out how many of the airline’s Superjumbos are currently active and what routes they serve.

Qatar Airways A380 Routes

In spite of having a decent number of A380s active (see the next section), Qatar Airways A380s can only be seen at a handful of airports. In 2023, they are scheduled to operate routes from Doha to:

  • Bangkok
  • London Heathrow
  • Perth
  • Sydney

Interestingly, there are no seasonal Qatar Airways A380 flights – all of the routes are expected to see the aircraft regularly throughout the year.

Qatar Airways A380 Routes
Routes the Qatar Airways A380 will be seen on regularly in 2023. (Map generated using Great Circle Mapper)

The route that is scheduled to be operated by the A380 the most often is Doha – London Heathrow. The A380 will operate two out of the five or six daily rotations between the two cities for essentially the entire year.

Currently, the two Qatar Airways’ rotations to Heathrow served by the Superjumbo are QR3/QR4 and QR11/QR10. From March 26, 2023, to October 29, 2023, it will be flights QR3/QR4 and QR9/QR10. After that, the A380 will operate on the original two rotations – QR3/QR4 and QR11/QR10. There is no QR3/QR4 on March 25, 2023, which appears to be the only day in 2023 with just a single A380 service on the route.

Bangkok will also see plenty of Qatar Airways’ A380s – mainly through the QR836/QR837 rotation. That one will be operated the A380 daily until February 13, 2023. Then it will switch to three flights a week (Mon/Thu/Sat) until March 25, 2023, at which point the A380 will be withdrawn from the route. The A380 will serve the QR836/QR837 rotation again daily from June 26, 2023.

Separately, flights QR832/QR833 are also scheduled to be operated by the A380 daily during winter schedules – until March 25, 2023, and from October 29, 2023. As such, for most of the winter schedules, Doha – Bangkok will be served by the A380 twice a day. Other Qatar Airways flights on the route are served by a mix of aircraft including A330, A350, 777, and 787.

Lastly, both of the Australia routes are scheduled to be served by the A380 year-round. The Superjumbo will appear daily on Qatar Airways’ sole daily flight to Perth (QR900/QR901) and sole daily flight to Sydney (QR908/QR909).

Qatar Airways A380 Fleet

Between 2014 and 2018, Qatar Airways received a total of ten A380s from Airbus. That said, in 2020, it took all of them out of service due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The airline, however, brought four of the Superjumbos out of storage in December 2021 and another four in 2022.

As such, currently, eight Qatar Airways A380s are active:

  • A7-APC (MSN 145, delivered in 2014)
  • A7-APD (MSN 160, delivered in 2014)
  • A7-APE (MSN 181, delivered in 2015)
  • A7-APF (MSN 189, delivered in 2015)
  • A7-APG (MSN 193, delivered in 2016)
  • A7-APH (MSN 197, delivered in 2017)
  • A7-API (MSN 235, delivered in 2017)
  • A7-APJ (MSN 254, delivered in 2018)
Qatar Airways Airbus A380
Qatar Airways Airbus A380-800.

Qatar Airways A380 Seat Configuration

All Qatar Airways A380s are equipped with 517 seats across three – first (8 seats), business (48 seats), and economy (461 seats) – classes.

The main deck is in an all-economy class configuration and features 405 seats in a 3-4-3 layout. The upper deck is home to the remaining 112 seats including:

  • 8 in first class (1-2-1 layout)
  • 48 in business class (1-2-1 layout)
  • 56 in economy class (2-4-2 layout)

It’s worth noting that the A380 is the only aircraft type in Qatar Airways’ fleet to feature proper first class (business class on its regional flights is sold as first class). While the seats are relatively outdated and do not feature doors, the reintroduction of the A380 nonetheless meant the return of Qatar Airways’ non-regional first class.

Similarly, the seats in business class are relatively outdated compared to the airline’s QSuites which are available on some of its 777s and A350s. That said, the reverse herringbone seats similar to those installed on non-QSuite-equipped A350s are perfectly fine.

One thing that makes the premium cabins on the Qatar Airways A380 unique is a bar/lounge area located between business and economy class cabins. There, first and business class passengers can have a drink and relax if they don’t feel like sitting in their seats.

As for economy class, Qatar Airways A380’s upper deck configuration where there are only eight seats per row compared to the main deck’s ten is more comfortable. There is also an extra storage compartment between the window seats and the wall of the aircraft on the upper deck. This is, in fact, the same with other airlines that split their A380 economy class cabins between the main and upper decks, like Asiana Airlines and British Airways.

Qatar Airways A380 Retirement Plans

In addition to the eight active Qatar Airways A380s, the airline has another two airframes in storage since 2020:

  • A7-APA (MSN 137, delivered in 2014)
  • A7-APB (MSN 143, delivered in 2014)

Considering that in an interview with Simple Flying, Qatar Airways CEO Akbar Al Baker said that in his opinion “looking back, it was the biggest mistake we did, to purchase A380s,” it is unlikely that the two aircraft will ever be reactivated.

Later on, he reiterated for the same outlet that the sole reason the Qatar Airways A380s were brought back from storage despite the high cost was the airline’s capacity shortage caused, among other reasons, by the grounding of the airline’s A350s. He is quoted saying “I need the volume, and I need the capacity, but as soon as I start getting deliveries of my airplanes and we get enough capacity, we will ground [the A380s].”

As such, while the Qatar Airways A380s made it back into the skies after being grounded by the pandemic, their days are still numbered. While it remains to be seen when exactly Qatar Airways will be in a situation to ground them for good, the airline seems to be keen to do so as soon as possible.


Currently, Qatar Airways has eight A380s back in service which it uses to connect Doha with London, Bangkok, Perth, and Sydney. That said, the A380s are only an interim solution while the airline works on expanding its capacity.

As such, while for the time being Qatar Airways A380s can still be fairly easily flown, it is just a matter of time until they are all grounded again, this time for good. When that will happen is not clear, however, it seems that the airline will not hesitate to do so once such an opportunity arises.

To see what other airlines operate the A380, check this article.

3 thoughts on “Qatar Airways A380s in 2023: Routes, Fleet & Retirement Plans”

  1. Where do you get your information from? I think it might be a bit outdated, as my Doha to Bangkok flight for Oct for bumped from an A380 to a Boeing 777

  2. Qatar should upgauge the aircraft between Melbourne – Doha to A380 aswell. Since the request for more Australia flights got declined, they shoud reintroduce the A380.

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