Portuguese wet-lease airline Hi Fly is set to take on more A380s as soon as they are available, as discussed by the president of the company, Paulo Mirpuri, at a recent press event.
What are the details?
Hi Fly is a wet-lease airline. How this differs from a typical leasing airline is the fact that they not only lease the aircraft on short term rentals but they provide the fuel, crew, food, pilots and even airline certificate. A good analogy would be the difference between renting a car or renting a limo service that provides everything.
The company has so far been very successful, leasing their fleet out across the world from European carriers such as Norwegian to far-flung destinations like Australia and Asia. The airline currently operates 17 aircraft, with the most recent addition coming online only yesterday (and boy, what a beautiful aircraft it is).
But one of the reasons that Hi Fly is so special is that they are the only wet-leasing airline in the world to have an Airbus A380.
The aircraft is an ex-Singaporean A380 and comes with three classes on board. Passengers who have booked a business class ticket might find themselves bumped up into the onboard first class, which features several private suites.
So far the aircraft has been popular, seeing several weeks of action with Norwegian, flying into the Indian ocean to the island of Reunion, and even going as far as Venezuela. Their A380 has seen the most action on transatlantic routes.
“The A380 is more of a niche market aircraft; the main market for the aircraft has been flying across the Atlantic, today it is flying somewhere between Europe and the United States” Mirpuri mentioned yesterday at the A330neo ceremony “This is not unexpected, as there are a lot of premium routes between these two continents”.
But stopping at one A380 is not on the cards for the Portuguese carrier.
What is their plan moving forward?
Hi Fly plans to actually increase their fleet to 100 aircraft in the next ten years. Speaking to CH-Aviation, Hi Fly President Mirpuri said,
“I think we can grow a lot more. I think we could grow eventually to over 100 aircraft. This year alone we’re phasing in five aircraft. Over the next 10 years, we could reach 100 aircraft – probably sooner.”
Regarding the A380, their plans are a little murkier. Speaking at a Q&A at the A330neo delivery ceremony, Mirpuri was quick to answer the question of whether they were interested in another A380.“Yes… that’s the plan, as more A380s become available, we will be taking more aircraft. The market will say how many, we don’t want to inundate the market with A380s, the market will let us know how many we can go”
According to an earlier press event covered by CH-Aviation, the current plan is to have another A380 in the fleet by mid-2020.
“We believe that additional A380 aircraft will enter our fleet – we need more than two or three,” Mirpuri said.
What do you think? Should Hi Fly get another A380? Let us know in the comments.