Breaking news coming out of Madagascar as the first ever Airbus A380 lands on the island. This A380, owned by Hi Fly, is being leased by Air Madagascar to replace the A340-300 as that aircraft undergoes maintenance work.
The leased aircraft
Air Madagascar has leased Hi Fly’s A380 one a one off basis to replace their usual A340 service. The airline must undertake engine work on their A340-300s under an EASA directive as reported by Air Journal rendering the need for such a lease.
This was a one-time A380 service on which flew on June 30th, 2019, as regularly scheduled MD051. As per flight schedules, the A340 is set to return to the original operation.
Hi Fly prides itself in being able to have an aircraft ready within hours of a customer requesting a lease or charter, dependant on availability of course. It is unknown how last minute this lease was for Air Madagascar.
Interestingly however, on the return flight from Antananarivo to Paris, a Wamos Air 747 was used.
This was a historic flight as it’s the first time an A380 has landed in Madagascar. The largest commercial airliner in the world comfortably made the 10-hour hop from Paris to Madagascar.
Hi Fly and secondary airports
One of the biggest challenges with operating the A380 is that smaller airports lack the infrastructure to handle such a large plane. Most airports don’t have the financial resources to significantly upgrade the airport to allow for A380 operations.
However, Hi Fly has done something remarkable. They’ve been supporting the expansion of the aircraft by operating flights to smaller destinations where the A380 previously hasn’t flown. In Hi Fly’s own words to Simple Flying:
“Hi Fly is working to increase the number of airports that can accommodate the world’s largest airliner and it has been often successful landing the A380 in countries and airports where it has never landed before. This was the case of Beja – Portugal, Reunion Island and now Madagascar.”
The A380 previously operated a flight on behalf of Air Austral to Reunion Island.
Hi Fly’s A380s carry an environmentally-friendly livery. Hi Fly has also made significant progress in operating more environmentally-friendly flights. Given that Madagascar has some of the world’s most beautiful natural landscapes and richest biodiversity, the A380 carried a symbolic message for a country threatened by environmental issues.
Hi Fly’s A380s are extending the reach of the aircraft to more airports. At the end of the day, this can make for some pretty special flights for some passengers. This historic first landing of an A380 in Madagascar should give Hi Fly some hope for the future. If they do acquire more A380s, they might just have a market for the aircraft.
Were you on this flight? Have you flown Hi Fly’s A380? Let us know in the comments!