Qatar Airways (QR, Doha Hamad Int'l) will continue to retire its A380-800s as soon as feasible, seeing no long-term future for the giant jet in its fleet, according to Group Chief Executive Officer Akbar Al Baker.

Speaking to Simple Flying, he reiterated he still considered the A380 his "biggest mistake".

Al Baker's comments coincided with several airlines returning the A380 to service following a massive travel rebound this summer and slot capacity constraints at major airports. There is also a lack of wide-body capacity amid production issues with the new A350, an issue that has escalated into a USD1 billion legal battle between Qatar Airways and Airbus.

However, Al Baker said spare parts for A380s were challenging to get. "Out of the eight that we commissioned to fly, we only fly seven. We keep one spare because today, you have difficulty getting spares for them because of the supply chain. [Airbus] stopped producing them, so there is no more incentive to make spares."

"Due to the grounding of the A350s by our regulator and me having a shortage of capacity, my only alternative was to recommission them [A380s] at a high cost…I need the volume, and I need the capacity, but as soon as I start getting deliveries of my aeroplanes and we get enough capacity, we will ground [the A380s]," Al Baker said.

Speaking to the New Straits Times recently, Al Baker was sceptical about a second-hand A380 market and the aircraft's revival despite the resurgence in international air travel demand. "There is zero second-hand market for the A380, and I don't think this programme will rebound. Unfortunately, we are using the A380s…, and especially with the current oil price, it's the most un-economic aeroplane to operate," he said.

Airbus stopped delivering A380s in 2019 due to dwindling demand, but some airlines who had parked their A380s, including Lufthansa, are bringing it back into service. According to the ch-aviation fleets advanced module, British Airways has ten out of twelve A380s in service; Emirates operates 73, more than half of its fleet of 116; while Singapore Airlines has returned nine of its seventeen A380s to service. Other A380 operators include Qantas, Asiana Airlines, Korean Air, and China Southern Airlines.