Qatar Airways A380 plans hit by last-minute delay

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Qatar Airways has pushed back the introduction of its Airbus A380s after last-minute refinements to the aircraft forced a hold-up in deliveries.

The airline, which has 10 A380s on order, had planned to receive its first three A380s in June to follow the opening of Doha’s new Hamad International Airport (HIA) in April/May.

Sources familiar with the situation indicate that arrival of the first aircraft was originally timed to coincide with the IATA AGM in the Qatari capital, which begins tomorrow.

Airbus confirms a postponement of “a few weeks” while it “fine tunes elements” of the aircraft. New delivery dates will be disclosed “shortly”, it adds.

Qatar Airways had intended to introduce the 517 seater on 17 June between Doha and London, with Paris services starting in July. Amadeus schedules, however, had already indicated that the London A380 service had been put back to 1 July.

Qatar’s A380 deliveries were originally due to begin earlier this year, but were rescheduled due to the delayed opening of HIA. Under the revised schedule, the initial three aircraft were due to in June, but sources indicate that the first delivery now looks unlikely before July and there will be a knock-on effect on the next two aircraft.

Although Qatar Airways has detailed the interior styling, there is little evidence of marketing of A380 flights on the airline’s Internet site. Qatar transferred operations to HIA on 27 May - just days before the IATA event - and it is unclear whether all the facilities for the carrier are fully functional.