For those new to the saga, Hi Fly is the first wet-leasing company to own and operate an A380. An airline wet-leasing company is essentially a charter airline that rents out planes to other airlines for short contracts (Such as covering a grounded plane for a short time or running a special event), and brings its own crew, fuel and airline certificate. Hi Fly, the Portuguese wet-lease company has jumped to fame for buying an ex-Singapore A380 for use in their fleet.
It has been a popular choice for airlines that have had their Boeing Dreamliners grounded due to the Rolls Royce Trent engine fiasco.
The A380 started to run into some problems last month when it ran the Norwegian New York to London route, in which the first four days of service the plane was never less than three and a half hours late… both ways.
In fact, Norwegian, the hiring company has so far refused to compensate any customer.
They have currently rented out their A380 to Air Austral, an airline based out of the French territory of Reunion (Which is located next to Madagascar), flying between Paris (CDG) and Saint-Denis (RUN). They run the same route duplicated with a Boeing 777.
Hi fly A380 is operating the longest non-stop domestic flight in the world: St. Denis, Reunion to Paris on behalf of Air Austral. And today it carried 506 persons on board covering 5,809 miles in 11 hours. #hifly #hiflyairline #airaustral #a380
📷 Clement Rangama pic.twitter.com/8Dx5UEQNAS
— Hi Fly (@hifly_airline) September 1, 2018
Last Friday, the 7thof September, at Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport, between the passengers deplaning and before they boarded to depart, the A380 collided with one of its jet bridges.
The plane was instantly stopped, grounded, and passengers removed. So far, they are still assessing the damage and the plane has been sitting on the tarmac for the last 48 hours. It is unclear when the jet will be ready to depart until the right engineers have come and inspected the engine.
Air Austral has pulled in another Boeing 777 to cover the airline, but flights were still cancelled on Saturday and Sunday.
2018-09-07: HiFly Airbus A380 (9H-MIP) on ops for Air Austral flight #UU978 to Reunion received minor engine casing damage when it collides with a jetbridge at Paris-Charles de Gaulle Intl Airport (CDG, LFPG) whilst under tow. https://t.co/Itc8z7Tbf5 pic.twitter.com/wlvuBB2uwT
— JACDEC (@JacdecNew) September 9, 2018
Naturally, one has to wonder why this happened or who is to blame.
- The Pilots: The pilots currently flying the A380 may not have that much experience with the craft, if they are Hi Fly pilots who have only ever flown their smaller planes, an A380 (With a wingspan of 80m and a length of 70m) is a very big plane indeed.
- The Operators: Hi Fly may have certain procedures that the aircrew must follow, and as such delayed the operation in such a way that a collision occurred.
- The Airport: Perhaps the airport crew failed to remove the bridge or falsely communicated that the bridge was out of the way. We feel that this is the most unlikely of the options as Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport sees plenty of A380’s and would have lots of experience running them through.
The fact that no passengers were on board leads one to think that perhaps the jet bridge operator is the one who accidentally hit the engine. Again, we don’t know and won’t find out until the investigation is concluded.
We will update you as soon as we know more!