Qatar Airways is to keep its fleet of Airbus A380 superjumbos grounded in favour of new A350 twinjets.

The Gulf carrier has added three A350-1000s to bring numbers up to 52 as the largest operator of the new generation long range aircraft.

Chief executive Akbar Al Baker said: “Qatar Airways is one of the few global airlines to have never stopped flying throughout this crisis.

“As one of the only airlines to continue taking delivery of new aircraft at this time, our strategic investment in modern, fuel-efficient twin-engine aircraft has enabled us to continue flying taking over 2.3 million people home on more than 37,000 flights since the start of the pandemic.

“Due to Covid-19’s impact on travel demand, we will continue to fly greener and smarter by keeping our fleet of Airbus A380 grounded, as it is not commercially or environmentally justifiable to operate such a large aircraft in the current market.

“Environmentally conscious passengers can travel with the reassurance that Qatar Airways continuously monitors the market to assess both passenger and cargo demand to ensure it operates the most efficient aircraft on each route.

“Rather than being forced to fly oversized aircraft due to limited aircraft options, reducing the flexibility for passengers to travel when they want, Qatar Airways has a variety of sustainable aircraft it can choose from to offer more flights with the right capacity in each market.

“Passengers can also rely on our airline operate an honest schedule of flights with our mixed fleet giving us the ability to maintain services, and upgrade or downgrade aircraft size depending on passenger demand.”