The Hi-Fly Airbus A380 is a very special aircraft. It is the only A380 in the entire world that is available for wet-leasing and thus is very popular for passengers and aviation fans alike. But what has it been up to since our last update and what can we expect for the year ahead?
Why is the Hi Fly Airbus A380 special?
As mentioned, the Hi Fly A380 is the only A380 in the world that is available for wet-leasing, but what does this mean? Unlike an aircraft that can be chartered (plenty of airlines make their aircraft available for private hire), the Hi Fly A380 can be operated by anyone for any reason and comes with its own fuel, crew and airline operator certificate.
The last bit is the critical element. Because Hi Fly is an actual airline, the plane can be leased out to other airlines as an operational tool to cover their own shortfall (like we saw with Norwegian during the Boeing 787 Dreamliner crisis). Many airlines don’t have this option as they can hardly charter a rival companies aircraft and there are no other large capacity leasable planes available (the next closest would be Air Belgium with their four A340s).
Additionally, this particular A380 is an Ex-Singapore A380. Not only has it got 333 economy seats, but it also has lie-flat business class seats and private first-class suites. This is fantastic news for passengers who are flying onboard the Hi Fly A380 via a low-cost carrier such as Norwegian, as it means they get the first-class hard product (seat, privacy, etc but not meals or service) for an unrealistically low price.
Where is the Hi Fly A380 now?
At the time of writing this article, the Hi Fly A380, tail number 9H-MIP is flying over the Atlantic Ocean, between Madrid and Caracas. This is Estelar flight ES894, operating for a Venezuelan airline. The A380 is replacing Estelars A340.
Hi Fly has been employed to operate many routes for the carrier, specifically between Caracas and Buenos Aires to European destinations such as Madrid and Rome.
Before the Estelar deal, Hi Fly deployed the A380 on a route for Air Madagascar. This is the first time that an A380 has flown to the giant island off the coast of Africa. And before that, the A380 was used to fly routes between Dakar to Paris for Air Senegal.
What can we expect in the future?
Once the deal with Estelar concludes, the Hi Fly A380 will be up for grabs. As these deals normally happen in days if not hours, many times we don’t know where the aircraft will be deployed until the last minute.
“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.” – Simple Flying.
What do you think? Do you want to fly on the Hi Fly A380? Let us know in the comments!