BREAKING: Hi Fly to end A380 operations

As a result of the pandemic, the wet-lease specialist is dropping the world’s largest commercial airliner in favour of a smaller alternative 

Portuguese charter airline Hi Fly is planning to phase out its Airbus A380 at the end of its lease term later this year. 

The exit follows almost three years of operations and comes, the operator says, as a consequence of the COVID-19 pandemic which has drastically reduced the demand for very large aircraft. 

Hi Fly is set to return the aircraft at the end of its lease which runs out towards the end of this year. Flickr Commons/Riik@mctr

The 14-year-old super jumbo, 9H-MIP (c/n 006) was previously operated by Singapore Airlines from March 2008 until November 2017. Hi Fly leased the widebody from German asset manager Doric Aviation, who also has agreements with Emirates for 17 of its A380s. 

Hi Fly belongs to the exclusive club of only 15 airlines to ever operate the A380, the largest commercial passenger aircraft of all time. 

Painted in a special “Save the coral reefs” livery, the airline’s example was well-known around the world. Since June, it has also been operating COVID-19 cargo charters to bring PPE and other medical supplies back from Asia to help fighter the virus in Europe. 

The aircraft will be replaced in Hi Fly’s fleet by an additional A330, which is a “smaller and more adequate aircraft for current market conditions,” according to a company statement. 

The Portuguese firm holds a 19-strong roster comprising all Airbus examples including two A319s, two A321s, eight A330s, six A340s and a single A380.