LONDON – Qatar Airways has announced new plans to overhaul its existing fleet. The outline was announced by the airline’s CEO, Akbar Al Baker, during an interview with the Gulf Times.

Qatar Airways plans to phase out its narrowbody fleet of two A319s, 32 A320s, and six A321s, with the brand-new 50 A321neos they have on order.

Out of the 50 planes, 10 are A321LRs, which is growing in popularity amongst other airlines.

Qatar Airways has already started withdrawing A320s from its fleet, with three going to Laudamotion.

With this news, it puts the carrier’s current order for 60 Boeing 737 MAX 8s in doubt, especially in light of the recent situation involving the type.

Despite this, Air Italy has received three Boeing 737 MAX 8s from this order, as Qatar Airways holds a 49% stake in the growing Italian airline.

Qatar Airways was the original launch customer for the A320neo, however, this order was subsequently converted into A321neos, with 60 Boeing 737 MAXs ordered as well.

The order swap took place because of issues with the Pratt & Whitney Geared-Turbofan engines. Lufthansa was the eventual launch customer for the type.

Qatar Airways also announced that its four A340-600s have been retired and replaced with brand-new A350-900/-1000s.

The airline also plans to phase out all remaining A330s, which consists of seven A330-200s and 13 A330-300s. According to the airline, the phasing out of these planes will take place within the next three years, as new A350s and Boeing 787-9 Dreamliners arrive.

Qatar Airways has already reduced its A330-200 fleet significantly with five now flying for Air Italy on a leasing agreement, and one with Aer Lingus. Three have gone to Eurowings and two to Turkish Airlines.

The airline also has seven A330-200 Freighters, with an additional one recently being withdrawn.

Qatar Airways currently operates a fleet of 43 A350s, of which 35 are from the smaller variant, A350-900s, and eight from the bigger version, the A350-1000s. This includes 3 that are leased from LATAM Brazil.

As of today, the Doha-based carrier has three more A350-900s and 35 A350-1000s on order. The airline was also the worldwide launch customer for both variants, receiving their first -900 in December 2014 and -1000 in February 2018.

As far as the Boeing side is concerned, Qatar Airways currently operates 30 Boeing 787-8 Dreamliners and has further 30 Boeing 787-9s on order.

Air Italy To Take More Qatar Airways A330s

As per the Aviation Analyst, Qatar Airways’ 30 Boeing 787-8s were originally planned to be transferred over to Air Italy; however, these plans have now been scrapped.

Instead, Air Italy will receive more A330s from Qatar Airways, although the exact number is still unknown.

Photo: Australian Aviation

Qatar Airways also plans to phase out its fleet of 10 A380 Super Jumbos starting in 2024, when the first aircrafts lease agreements expire, with the last leaving sometime around 2028.

Qatar plans to replace this fleet with Boeing’s upcoming Boeing 777-X Family, which will make it’s first flight later this year and will be delivered to launch customer Lufthansa in 2020.

Qatar Airways has ordered 60 units, of which 50 are 777-9Xs and 10 777-8Xs.

In relation to the fleet overhaul announcements, Akbar Al Baker said, “From 2024, our fleet will consist of Boeing 777s and 787s and Airbus A350s and A321s. At that time, there will not be any more Airbus A320s and A319s in our fleet.”

Additionally, he added in regards to Qatar Airways Cargo’s fleet, “four freighters, B777s, will be delivered to us before the year-end and that will be added into the Qatar Airways Cargo fleet.”

Al Baker added that his airline “will add around 20 passenger aircraft. It will be mostly Airbus, except may be for one or two Boeing.”

Overall, it shows Qatar Airways is one of the leaders within the Aviation industry and aims to have one of the youngest aircraft fleets in the world.

The airline has a significant reputation for being very strict and detailed with its plane orders, and this new plan demonstrates that this statement is true.

Time will tell whether the A330 fleet will be transferred entirely to Air Italy. The recent announcement also shows the A350s and Boeing 777s will make up the backbone of Qatar’s fleet going forward over the next two decades.