How Useful Has Hi Fly Found The Airbus A380?

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Last week, wet lease operator Hi Fly revealed that it would be retiring its sole Airbus A380 by the end of the year. But just how many flight hours has the airline gotten out of the aircraft? Simple Flying crunched the numbers with the help of FlightRadar24.com‘s data.

Hi Fly, Airbus A380, Usage
Hi Fly is retiring its only Airbus A380, but just how useful has it been? Photo: Ibex73 via Wikimedia

Hi Fly’s Airbus A380 is unique in many ways. Firstly, it is the world’s only second-hand A380, and the only wet lease A380. However, it is also the only A380 to have been adapted for cargo. Now, Hi Fly is to become the shortest-lived operator of the type as it retires its only superjumbo.

Has the Airbus A380 been useful?

Since August 1st, 2018, the Hi Fly Airbus A380 has clocked up a fair few hours with a range of long-haul flights. Indeed, according to FlightRadar24.com‘s data, the aircraft has amassed an impressive 1,580 hours flying for the Portuguese wet lease specialist. This equates to roughly 66 days of flight.

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However, many of these flights have been to and from its home at Beja airport in Portugal. Once you remove these flights, you are left with 1,434 hours spread across 203 flights, giving an average flight time of around seven hours.

Hi Fly Airbus A380 Usage
Hi Fly’s Airbus A380 usage. Graph: Simple Flying | Data: FlightRadar24.com

(To enlarge the graph, right-click it and select “open image in new tab”)

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What gets interesting is when you take a look at when those flight hours were amassed. The graph above shows when Hi Fly’s Airbus A380 flew during its time with the airline. A blue line represents a day with at least one flight (Beja excluded). The thicker the blue line, the more consecutive days the aircraft flew.

The data shows that the aircraft was initially very popular with quite a lot of interest from Norwegian Airlines. Very few bookings followed from October 2018 to June 2019. A flurry of use was seen in the summer of 2019, with the aircraft operating Stansted Airport’s first A380 service. However, over the past year, the aircraft has only been used sparingly.

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Hi Fly, Airbus A380, Usage
The aircraft will be retired by the end of the year. Photo: Getty Images

Where did the A380 fly?

When you remove the data about the positioning flights to and from Beja, Hi Fly’s A380 has served five destinations far more than others. 40 flights have flown to New York, 30 to London Gatwick, 26 to Paris, 16 to Caracas, and 14 to Madrid. The A380 has only flown into its Beja home 27 times, meaning that it has flown passengers into New York and Gatwick more times.

Hi Fly, Airbus A380, Usage
New York has seen the Hi Fly Airbus A380 more than any other airport. Graph: Simple Flying | Data: FlightRadar24.com

(To enlarge the graph, right-click it and select “open image in new tab”)

Most other airports have only seen the Hi Fly A380 a handful of times at most. Without a doubt, the single route that the aircraft has been used on the most is that of London Gatwick to New York. This was one of the routes flown when Norwegian Airlines hired the aircraft, and initially caused delays due to a lack of space for the A380 in New York.

Have you flown on Hi Fly’s A380? Are you sad to see the only second-hand A380 retired? Let us know what you think and why in the comments!

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