After three years of operation, it seems that Hi Fly is to cease flying the Airbus A380 and will return the aircraft after it completes its lease.
The airline operates a single Airbus A380 (ex Singapore Airlines). It is planning the phase-out of it’s Airbus A380 at the end of the lease term later this year. The aircraft has been used both as a passenger aircraft and a special freighter.
Unsurprisingly, the airline chose not to extend its lease for the aircraft due to COVID-19 pandemic, which has slashed the demand for airlines to hire in or use large aircraft
The aircraft- 9H-MIP was painted from its base colour of white to the “Save the Coral Reefs” livery, flying missions for airlines (such as Norwegian and Thomas Cook rescue flights). It was the 6th Airbus A380 built.
It was operated by Hi Fly’s Maltese subsidiary – and one of 15 airlines to operate the Airbus A380.
As for its replacement, Hi Fly is taking delivery of the smaller (but more adaptable and more efficient) Airbus A330. It is also a customer of the Airbus A330neo.
It also operates the Airbus A319, Airbus A321, Airbus A330-200, Airbus A330-300, Airbus A340-300.
An odd choice at the time, with a hastened exit
The market for very large aircraft is small – even when things were a lot better than they are now (one need look how airlines are shedding their Airbus A380 and Boeing 747 fleets as fast as they can). However, Hi Fly thought that they could slip in to provide extra capacity when needed, sending it around the globe on different missions.
However, they could have done this with a smaller aircraft – one need look at their fleet to see that they do.
Maybe the airline got a very good price on the lease of the aircraft – but even then, leases have to be paid for, which isn’t much good when the aircraft is sitting on the tarmac.
Whist the A380 is a wonderful status symbol, in this age, it is becoming an expensive thing to operate when there is minimal cargo that can fit in it and zero passengers to carry.
For Hi Fly, the A380 experiment is coming to an end.
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