Hi Fly Operates First Commercial Airbus A380 Flight From Stockholm

Hi Fly’s A380 touched down in Stockholm yesterday, Monday, September 2nd, en route to New York’s John F. Kennedy Airport. According to Aero News, it was the first A380 commercial flight from Stockholm’s Arlanda Airport.

Hi Fly’s A380 flying high at this year’s Paris Air Show. Photo: Ibex73 via Wikimedia Commons.

Hi Fly’s A380, 9H-MIP, left Arlanda at 23:29 (Stockholm time) on Monday, September 2nd, to operate the seven-hour flight to JFK on behalf of Norwegian Air Shuttle. The flight is due to touch down at JFK at 01:15 on Tuesday, September 3rd. Unlike Arlanda, JFK is well used to A380s and has been seeing a fair bit of the Hi Fly A380 lately.

Hi Fly’s A380 is a regular at JFK

According to Flight Aware, this will be 9H-MIP’s third visit to JFK in as many days.

On Saturday, August 31st, 9H-MIP flew from Gardermoen (Olso) to JFK operating as Norwegian Air Shuttle 7001. It landed at JFK just past midnight, in the very early hours of September 1st.

The aircraft spent eight hours on the ground in New York before heading back to Gardermoen at 08:46 (New York time), operating Norwegian Air Shuttle 7002 and arriving back in Europe later that evening.

9H-MIP spent a mere four hours at Gardermoen before heading back to JFK, again operating on behalf of Norwegian Air Shuttle. The flight touched down in New York at 01:19 on Monday, September 2nd.

It spent four hours on the ground at New York before departing at the unspeakably awful time of 04:24 to head back to Norway, operating Norwegian Air Shuttle 7002. It landed at Gardermoen around 16:20 yesterday afternoon (Stockholm time).

9H-MIP’s current tracking to JFK this morning. Source: Flight Aware.

After disembarking its passengers, 9H-MIP was ferried over to Arlanda to operate last night’s first commercial A380 flight out of the airport. 

Hi Fly’s A380 is keeping itself busy

Hi Fly might be familiar to readers who loiter around the airports of Europe and New York, but it is best known elsewhere as one of the very few operators of a second-hand A380.

The market for second-hand A380s, as every aviation pundit around keeps saying, is effectively nil. But Hi Fly took 9H-MIP off Singapore Airlines’ hands last year. The aircraft had flown for Singapore for ten years as 9V-SKC. 

9H-MIP in its previous life at Singapore Airlines as 9V-SKC. Photo: Kentaro lemoto via Wikimedia Commons.

There’s always an exception to the rule and Hi Fly is the exception to the no second-hand A380 market rule. You might not think there’d be a lot of demand for chartering and wet-leasing A380s on a regular basis, but Flight Aware tracks the plane’s movements and  9H-MIP is doing business most days.

Norwegian Air Shuttle is keeping them busy at the moment. It’s a very interesting business model that most people would initially decry, but Hi Fly might be onto something with their A380 business model.

In fact, Hi Fly is talking about taking another A380 next year. They previously told Simple Flying that; 

“Our plan is to operate the A380 for a full fiscal year before deciding when to introduce the next one, most probably there will be a second unit arriving next year. We believe additional A380 aircraft will join our fleet very soon.”

Given how busy their first A380 is, there might be viable ground for a second one.

Is the Hi Fly business model the way of the future?

From a distance, it makes Hi Fly appear as either an outlier or an innovator in the aviation industry. It’s extremely niche, but they appear to be making a viable business out of second-hand A380s.

The question is, is this the way of the future for the giants of the skies or will most of them still head to a dusty graveyard in Arizona?

Either way, operators of A380s with plans to retire them (and there are a few of them) must be tripping over themselves to make friends with the bosses at Hi Fly.