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Hi Fly Drops A380 Operations

Hi Fly’s Airbus A380 at the Farnborough Air Show. (Photo: AirlineGeeks | Fabian Behr)

Three years ago, Hi Fly started operating an Airbus A380 as part of its charter fleet. The Portuguese carrier, through its subsidiary in Malta, acquired the aircraft that previously was operated by Singapore Airlines. Doric Asset Finance, the real owner of the A380, completed the adaptation process and delivered it in July 2018 during the Farnborough Airshow.

The COVID-19 pandemic has forced several airlines to reduce its fleet and adapt its network in order to survive this crisis. Many of them have accelerated the retirement process of their oldest and bigger aircraft and one of the biggest affected has been the Airbus A380. Most of its operators have grounded them or even retired them, as Air France did. Back in October, Hi Fly announced that they will not be extending their A380 lease ending in December. The carrier explained its decision due to the low demand for Very Large Aircraft and their intention of substituting its operation with a different Airbus A330.

Hi Fly has been the only charter company to operate this model, being one of the 15 A380 operators in the world and the first to use them second-handed. The 9H-MIP flew under the Singapore Airlines livery for 11 years and then, when switched to the Portuguese company, was painted with a very special livery. During these three years, the aircraft has flown the world with a “Not too late for coral reefs” message as a collaboration campaign with Mirpuri Foundation to protect the coral reefs.

The original intention of the airline was to lease two A380 previously operated by Singapore Airlines. Nevertheless, Hi Fly ended only leasing one of them. The Malta subsidiary has operated charter flights with this aircraft on behalf of Condor and Norwegian and, during the last months, has carried medical supplies all over the world including an around-the-world flight from Beja, Portugal to Tianjin, China to end in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic.

The last commercial operations of the 9H-MIP have been the transportation of medical supplies from Seoul Incheon and Shanghai Pudong to Hamburg Helmut Schmidt between Dec. 9 and Dec. 15. Finally, on December 17, the aircraft was parked on its final fly to Berau Kalimaru, Indonesia.

From those 15 A380 operators, nine carriers have parked them and only Emirates, China Southern and Korean Air are operating them. However, the Dubai based airline has begun this year the retirement of their firsts Airbus A380. In August they permanently parked the A6-EEH and the A6-EEK to use them as spare unit supply and in October, they sent the A6-EDB to Tarbes, France to be dismantled.

After the massive retirement of the Boeing B747 performed by many airlines, the next model in the line could be the Airbus A380 marking the end of the double-decker aircraft.

Arturo Higueras
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  • Arturo Higueras

    Arturo joined AirlineGeeks in 2020 as a writer. He is a Spanish Aerospace Engineer who recently completed his undergraduate studies at the Polytechnic University of Madrid. He has always been passionate about aviation and, in addition to his engineering knowledge, he is now completing a Master’s Degree in Air Transport Management at Cranfield University in the United Kingdom. Being passionate about journalism, he has been part of several online magazine projects, he will now be covering aviation news from Europe.

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