Hi Fly Takes Delivery Of Their First A380

Filed Under: Other Airlines

It’s time to say hello to the world’s 14th A380 operator!

Last August, Portuguese aircraft leasing company Hi Fly announced that they’d be acquiring two A380s, which they planned to start flying by Spring 2018. This is a pretty big development, as it marks the first time that an A380 is being acquired on the secondhand market.

For a while I had wondered if this would actually happen, since we didn’t hear anything about this for months. Then in April, Hi Fly confirmed that they’d indeed take over two A380s that used to fly for Singapore Airlines, given that Singapore Airlines is retiring the first five A380s that they took delivery of about a decade ago.

Today is the the big day for Hi Fly, as the airline has just taken delivery of their first A380. While I believe it will still be painted in Hi Fly colors, I sort of dig the all white paint scheme as well.

Hi Fly’s first A380 features a total of 471 seats, including 399 economy seats, 60 business class seats, and 12 first class suites — they’re maintaining exactly the same configuration that Singapore Airlines used to have.

Now it just remains to be seen what Hi Fly will actually do with their A380s, which is the most interesting aspect of all this. Hi Fly has indicated that they hope to lease these planes out for longer periods of time. In general there seem to be a few ways these planes could most practically be used:

  • For Hajj charters, where there’s always a huge amount of demand
  • Given the issues the 787 is having, there’s a lot of demand for leased aircraft right now, though the A380 is also a lot of airplane to cover a 787
  • To cover increased seasonal demand, where an airline wants to grow, but doesn’t have the planes to do so

I can’t wait to see these two planes in the sky. Last year I flew a Hi Fly A340 from Ponta Delgada to Lisbon, which had a retro ex-Emirates interior. It was a cool flight, and I’d love to similarly try this ex-Singapore Airlines A380.

Anyone want to guess what the first assignment will be for the Hi Fly A380?

(Photos courtesy of the Hi Fly Facebook page)

  1. These planes will propably have to much of a premium configuration for hadj flights maybe?
    The market may be limited to stand in for other airlines A380 and 747, when they are short of a aircraft due to inforseen circumstances

  2. I believe carriers like Turkish or JAL could be interested in leasing the aircraft to test out viability to justify a potential order.

  3. @Scandinavian Aviator – Most people in the premium cabin will probably get upgraded on Hajj flights. PIA used to have an all economy 747 that they used on Hajj flights until they retired it just recently.

  4. Norwegian is critically short of planes now. Not sure what the turnaround time is to make these birds operational but for for 787 operators in a bad way, they could cancel every other flight and consolidate two days worth of flying into one flight.

    As it is, Norwegian as replaced some 787 with 777s which already provide a huge upgrade for premium passengers.

  5. I would love to score a SQ business hard product for a Norwegian premium economy price!

    I honestly think their primary market will be legacy carriers that have seasonal spikes in demand and need extra capacity at certain times of the year. Potentially these could include some carriers operating on trans Atlantic routes or even existing A380 Operators who need the surplus capacity at certain times of the year.

    The fact that Hi fly offers wet lease solutions will also allow them to tap into carriers that do not have A380 fleets addressing issues such as crew familiarity.

    Question is will there be enough year round demand for Hi fly to justify the cost of operating these aircrafts? I imagine this is a trial and they will reconfigure the planes once they establish sustained demand as this configuration was too premium to be viable even for SIA.

  6. IF Norwegian was to lease an A380, I would think they could only use it on the JFK or LAX route due to demand/those airports having A380 gates. Of course they could possibly use remote stands but….

  7. Wouldn’t be surprised to see it on DUS-PMI 😉

    Lots of demand on that route as Germans want to visit their “17th Bundesland”

    Already more than 20 daily DUS-PMI flights now, of which some widebodies.
    Ryanair(Lauda) flies now 4 times within 30 minutes on PMI-DUS on Sunday evening, and also the other airlines do everything to get (leased) capacity there.

    CGN-PMI (CGN is just 50km south of DUS) has another 12 daily flights.

    Even Hahn Air changed their only route recently from DUS-LUX to DUS-PMI

  8. It’s true that some of their planes are all white but they’ll probably paint this one, since it’s a bit of a status symbol for them.

  9. A tiny airline should wet lease it. Back in the day, you had crazy fleet policy, thanks in parts to the taxpayers footing the bills of nationalised airlines and in parts due to the lack of long range single aisle aircraft. I remember spotting a 747SP in full LG colours. These days, their biggest planes seems to be a 737NG.

  10. I predict that this will work very badly, especially without a high density configuration.

  11. I can see this plane being deployed by BA or Air France in the peak travel months. BA could most certainly use it to LA while swapping the B744 for other routes. Ofcourse those passengers would be in for a treat knowing what they’re currently used to.

    Can PMI handle a A380?

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