Hi Fly has been hired to perform a very special mission. Tomorrow, it will be flying its unique Airbus A380 to Wuhan to rescue stranded EU Citizens on behalf of the European Union.
What are the details?
Currently, the city of Wuhan is on lockdown. With the latest estimation of the number of people infected reaching over 2,000 and sure to rise, local residents have been forbidden to leave the city amid fears of a global pandemic.
However, citizens of other countries are allowed to depart the country. There is just one problem; many airlines have stopped serving flights to China. This is either because they have been asked by their government to pause their flights until the situation is resolved, or because they have had so many passengers postpone their tickets that they simply decided to cancel the flights.
Thus trapped foreigners in Wuhan have turned to their government for help.
What is the EU doing?
According to Boarding Pass, the European Union has decided to charter two Airbus A380s to fly to Wuhan to pick up all their citizens to return them home. One of these A380s is believed to be the special Hi Fly A380, which is a wet-lease aircraft perfect for on-demand urgent services like this.
The A380 will fly from Paris, with specially trained agents onboard who have briefed the Hi Fly team on handing potentially contagious passengers. The aircraft will then land in Vietnam to refuel before heading to the epicenter, Wuhan. This journey is expected to start today (January 31st) as flight number HFM421.
31JAN: HFM421 CDG 0500 – 1600 HAN
31JAN: HFM421 HAN 1830 – 2020 WUH
01FEB: HFM432 WUH 00:20 – 1130 CDG.
— BoardingPass (@BoardingPassRO) January 29, 2020
Passengers will be boarded and flown back to Europe, and will likely be quarantined for up to two weeks to ensure that they do not have the virus.
Why is the Hi Fly A380 suited for this job?
The Hi Fly A380 is especially suited for this job as it has the capacity to get out as many people as possible, the range to fly direct between China and Europe and can accommodate different levels of passengers in comfort (for example, if someone is elderly or injured they can go in the lie-flat business class cabin or one of the 12 first class suites).
As the aircraft used to be a Singapore Airlines, it features twelve of the aforementioned first class suites, 60 business class lie-flat seats, and 399 economy seats over two decks.
Hi Fly was reached out to for comment but insists that they do not speculate on any clients or roles their aircraft are hired for.
This isn’t the first time that the Hi Fly Airbus A380 has been hired for a rescue mission. It was previously hired by the United Kingdom government to repatriate stranded Thomas Cook tourists after the airline went bust and left thousands of them abroad in hotels and resorts.
What do you think about this news? Do you think this is a good use of the Hi Fly A380 neo?