Qatar Airways to fly unwanted A380s after A350 grounding - report

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DUBAI, Sept 29 (Reuters) - Qatar Airways will resume flights with Airbus (AIR.PA) A380s earlier than planned to make up for capacity lost in the regulator grounding of some of its A350s, according to a report published on Wednesday.

The airline last year indefinitely parked its 10 A380s after the COVID-19 collapse in long-haul travel, and said it would only ever use five of them once they returned to service.

Executive Traveller, quoting the airline's chief executive, said Qatar Airways would operate flights with five of its parked A380s from November, with all 10 possibly returning next year.

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“We have to find capacity for our passengers who need airlines to take them to their loved ones for Christmas,” Akbar Al Baker was quoted as saying.

A Qatar Airways representative confirmed the report was accurate.

The five A380s would give the Gulf carrier more than half the 4,000-seat capacity it had lost in the Qatari regulatory grounding of 13 A350s in August.

The grounding followed Qatar Airways allegations that the fuselage surface below the paint on each of the jets was deteriorating.

The airline has been locked in a months-long public dispute with Airbus over the allegations, insisting it would not take any A350 deliveries until the problem was resolved.

Al Baker in January said the A380s - the world's biggest passenger jet - was the "worst aircraft" with regards to emissions.

Executive Traveller also reported that Qatar Airways was looking to hire "additional" Boeing (BA.N) 777 pilots from British Airways for "at least the next six months." Qatar Airways is a minority owner of British Airways-owner IAG (ICAG.L).

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Writing by Alexander Cornwell Editing by Bill Berkrot

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