Hi Fly Gets 30 Requests For Its Airbus A380 Every Day

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Simple Flying recently caught up with CEO and chairman of Hi Fly, Dr. Paulo Mirpuri, to find out what the airline thinks of its A380. The specialist wet lease airline regularly comes under fire for investing in an unpopular plane, but the truth is actually quite far from this perception.

Hi Fly A380
Think the A380 is un-leasable? Think again. Photo: Hi Fly

The un-leasable plane

Hi Fly gets a lot of stick for having an A380 ready to wet lease. The company acquired the 10 year old aircraft in 2018 after Singapore Airlines decided against renewing the lease. Having given it a grand new look, Hi Fly has been offering it out for hire ever since.

Plenty of onlookers, analysts and armchair critics openly condemn the airline for investing in the giant jumbo. With many airlines phasing out the A380, most can’t believe that there is even a market for such a large plane, particularly on an ad hoc basis.

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Hi Fly A380
The A380 pushes Hi Fly’s message of sustainability. Photo: Hi Fly

However, in a recent interview with Simple Flying, Hi Fly’s CEO, Dr. Paulo Mirpuri, told us that the demand for the A380 actually far outstrips supply, with the airline receiving around 30 requests a day for the plane. So, why don’t we see it in the skies more often?

The A380 is in high demand

Dr. Mirpuri describes the A380 as ‘remarkable’, and sings its praises in terms of reliability and sophistication of the technology on board. Indeed, he’s clearly a massive fan of the type, having bequeathed three letters of his surname to the registration of the aircraft, 9H-MIP.

Hi Fly CEO
Hi Fly’s CEO, Dr. Paulo Mirpuri, is a big fan of the A380. Photo: Simple Flying

But why is demand so low for the type? Dr. Mirpuri told us that, actually, it’s not. He said,

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“In terms of demand, we receive on a daily basis around 30 requests for the aircraft.”

He went on to explain why we don’t see the aircraft busy at work more often, saying,

“However, we face one problem, which is, the accessibility of the aircraft to a number of airports. So, unfortunately, we have to reject the majority of the requests, and we have to send alternative aircraft even if the client wants initially the Airbus 380 and that is because the airport or the city selected is not compatible with the A380 operations.”

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Taking a look at the flight data for 9H-MIP, the aircraft is certainly not in demand right now. Apart from a trip to Jeddah and back this week, the aircraft has not worked at all since October. But, this is the quiet season, so likely the airline would expect to have low demand for its aircraft.

Prior to the 7th of October, however, the aircraft has been in almost constant use right through since late May last year. And it sounds like there would have been many more jobs for it too, if only the infrastructure was in place. The un-leasable plane is proving its worth!

Everyone loves the A380

Dr. Mirpuri was highly complimentary about the A380, telling us,

“We love the aircraft, the passengers love the aircraft, the clients love the aircraft … It is important that we see the airport investing in the infrastructure to welcome the aircraft.”

Hi Fly A380
The A380 has been all over the world last summer. Photo: Hi Fly

Indeed, Hi Fly has taken the A380 to places that it’s never been before. Over the course of 2019, it made appearances in Madagascar, Reunion Island, London Stansted, Caracas and more. The airline is keen to prove that the A380 can be a workable prospect, even where the infrastructure isn’t ideal.

In many of these cases, they’ve had to get creative with the boarding process, using the lower doors only for both passengers and catering carts entering the plane. Dr. Mirpuri was clear that this is far from ideal, and that he’d rather see more airports investing in the right facilities for the A380. He said,

“It would be a pity that such a remarkable aircraft is not able to operate on a much wider basis, because it is capable and Hi Fly has been able to demonstrate that the aircraft can go into many more airports.”

What do you think? Should more airports be ready to accept the A380? Let us know in the comments.

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Bill

Could these be converted into slurry tankers?

Nate

Soo.. The A380 is wildly popular.. you get 30 requests a day.. but you have to reject the majority of them because the aircraft can’t land in the majority of airports in the world.. Seems a bad business model to have a wildly popular aircraft that is also unusable.. I wonder why Airbus stopped production..

Mark

Nobody wants gas guzzlers , twin engine is the future, to have smaller airports make access for a few A380 ‘s would not make sense . Its not only runways, taxiways also need modified for the beast.

Mike Geeen

Cathay’s making a big mistake as UAL leaving ORD-HKG route has given The route exclusively to Cathay. The move will help UAL if they ever use the route again. Also ORD’s the HDQTRS of Boeing and ORD area customers are favorable to flying on US made aircraft

Niklas Andersson

Well again… A380 is not dead yet… only business model should be reframed.
I believe somehow the revival of this art of piece will gain by the time.
Emirates will not change the MAP of the airliners industries, but will create an new LANDSKAPE for customers.
Some have understood… Delta/AirFrance/Virgin are quite on somethings today.

William

“Coral Reefs Gone by 2050” is the slogan on the side. Apart from being incorrect its the wrong way to go about Teflon coating yourself in environmentalism as it only increases anxiety Air Transport is only 2% of global emissions. It fundamentally is not the problem. Industrial processes such as calcination and cement making, iron, aluminium refining and ammonia production need to be tackled first. All of these can be converted to electrical processes or methanation used to capture the CO2 produced and convert it to synthetic natural gas.

Chris

There’s no way they get 30 requests a day and have to reject them. Their customers would know whether or not the aircraft can land at the airports they are flying to.

Peter M Rodriguez

The aircraft is just so beautiful and amazing, it is a state of the art within the aviation industry. However, Airbus designed this aircraft with the sole ambition in mind of stealing the crown from the majestic and legendary Super Jumbo jet Boeing 747. Unfortunately, the results were a total failure and disappointment. No airline wants it due to the excessive spending to maintain this monster. The 747 is also becoming obsolete for the same reason. My question to Boeing and Airbus is if it would be possible to keep producing these giant aircraft and redesign them to use two fuel efficient engines instead of four. I’m almost 100% that these aircraft manufacturing companies have more than enough brain power engineers to come up with a new redesigned engines for these beautiful flying beast.

Craig

This article has a really loose definition of demand. A request is not automatically demand. If demand is outpacing supply then the plane would not be underutilized. A request for a charter using the A380 between airports that can’t handle the aircraft, that will get rejected before things such as pricing are even negotiated, is as real of an indication of “demand” as the millions of dollars I currently have sitting in Nigerian banks that I can access as soon as give my Nigerian contacts some information and money.

Paul Long

They don’t use the airplane often because they just wait people to go to them and ask for an airplane. They could go after clients and suggest some business but they just seat and say come to me. I have great ideas for them to use the airplane more often.

Mike

It would be disappointing if airports DID spend money on infrastructure to handle the 380.
Particularly one that hasn’t flown in three months.

Alain

Besides the ad-hoc market, I’m pretty sure that the A380 has a future in China. These people will need an enormous capacity and they won’t be shy adapting their infrastructures to the aircraft. They’ll certainly want to get a deal on things like technology transfer, local production or so. Airbus will need to be flexible and smart, but if they play it well and come up with some sort of licensing they still can make a lot of money out of this wonderful aircraft.
I, for one, am willing to pay some extra to fly it. And I do so whenever I have a chance on long-haul flights to Asia.
It’s as quiet and smooth and roomy as the horrible 777 is noisy, rough and cramped.