Hi Fly’s First A380 Charter Customer Is… Thomas Cook!

Hi Fly is the first ever airline to get the A380 on the secondhand market, and perhaps even more significantly, they’re the first charter airline to have the plane. They just took delivery of their first A380 recently, and even showed it off at the Farnborough Airshow.

The plane is now available for lease, and the airline has even claimed that they already have their first wet lease contract signed. Hi Fly says that it’s for a major European carrier, and that the A380 will fly longhaul sectors during the summer period, with the possibility of an extension. They haven’t named the airline, though many of us have speculated about what the airline could be.

Well, as it turns out, the first ever Hi Fly A380 lease won’t be for an airline that any of us were expecting, and that’s because they just signed a last minute, short-term lease.

On Wednesday, August 1, 2018, Hi Fly’s A380 will be operating a charter flight on behalf of Thomas Cook Scandinavia between Copenhagen, Denmark, and Larnaca, Cyprus. The A380, which has the tail number 9H-MIP, is positioning from Beja to Copenhagen as we speak. It will operate DK1102 at 1PM.

Why was this A380 lease necessary? Reports suggest that this was due to an IT breakdown at Rhodes Airport in Greece. Because passengers were stranded, Thomas Cook Scandinavia sent an extra plane there, and given their tight summer schedule, they wouldn’t have had a plane to operate the Larnaca service. With no other lease options available, they sprung for the Hi Fly A380.

So while the flight was originally scheduled to be operated by an A321, it will be operated by an A380 instead. That’s quite an upgrade. There are apparently 212 people booked on this flight, so the plane will be less than half full.

Hi Fly’s A380 has the same configuration that Singapore Airlines has on their A380s, with a total of 471 seats. This includes 12 first class seats, 60 business class seats, and 399 economy seats. Can you imagine going from having booked a Thomas Cook seat to potentially getting a seat in Singapore’s former Suites?

Here’s what Thomas Cook Scandinavia’s communications manager had to say about this aircraft swap (though this is using Google Translate):

“It has been important to find a solution for our customers. We have been lying horizontally to find a plane, and the Airbus A380 was the only option. But we do not let the economy decide when it comes to our customers.”

Of course this one-off charter wasn’t what Hi Fly was referring to when they talked about their first charter customer, so now the big question is where the plane is headed to next. My money is still on Norwegian, though I think there are a few other potential options.

Kudos to Thomas Cook for shelling out the money to make sure their customers make it to their destination on time. This is a really, really expensive solution, given not only the cost to charter an A380, but also the cost to first position the plane to Copenhagen.

I wonder if they’ll let passengers sit in the first and business class seats, and if so, how they’ll prioritize seating.

Comments

  1. Air Austral is leasing the plane from the end of August. That has been widely reported the last 2 days in Europe.

  2. Why didn’t they just send the A380 to greece instead? It would have been a better mission for the aircraft as it could of carried more people back.

  3. They have been “lying horizontally to find a plane.” The mind boggles but I guess you do what you gotta do

  4. It will operate two flights today. One with pax from the cancelled CPH flight and one with pax from a cancelled ARN flight, but because ARN don’t have A380 capability, the flight will go to CPH.

  5. So Level strands 800 or so passengers in YUL and doesn’t see any problem in doing so and Thomas Cook leases an A380 to replace a A321. Well then…

  6. They would of done this as a last resort if no other options available and they will ensure everyone sits in economy and not even allowed in the business/first areas to save. (The charter is still probably cheaper then the EU261 costs to pay for the cancelled flights)

    They are extreme penny pinchers, I learnt that from my 10 years service there

  7. The irony of having a slogan for saving the coral reefs on the side of an A380 I guess escaped them.

  8. What does “would of done” mean, I wonder? How is that a properly constructed modal verb?

    If you’re looking for something that sounds phonetically similar, and you know your verbs, the logical reasoning would be: would do + have done = would have done –> would’ve done.

    How on Earth does that get transcribed to “would of done”? What sense do those 3 words make when put together?

  9. @Mike – THANK YOU. This drives me nuts, along with your/you’re. I encounter this every day here in Australia. People need to go back to school and relearn grammar.

  10. The plane has just taken off from CPH bound for LCA – showing as “operated by Hi Fly Malta”.

  11. Those passengers are in for a treat. I would be. Instead of a crammed narrowbody they get a much roomier A380!

    @Mike +1

  12. Ha! I was rather surprised when I saw this pass my house in the south or Sweden, near Copenhagen last night. There are not many A380s in the skies here.

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