Is Airbus A380 overcoming midlife crisis?
Airlines lined up as well. According to Hi Fly’s own press release, it did not take too long for customers to show interest in the one-of-a-kind A380: “Less than 24 hours after the presentation of the Airbus A380 to the industry and the start of related marketing activities, Hi Fly agreed on the first wet-lease contract for the A380 with an undisclosed well established European Carrier”.
But initially, the operations were not as smooth. Norwegian leased the aircraft to operate their London-Gatwick (LGW) – New York-JFK (JFK) route back in 2018 and daily delays became the norm:
.@Fly_Norwegian's 11pm JFK-LGW flight operated by the @hifly_airline A380 is delayed until 3am for the third day in a row.
It appears the airline isn't announcing the delays until the day of the flight and is still selling the original departure time, which is downright scummy. pic.twitter.com/efSYZdTgkD — Jason Rabinowitz (@AirlineFlyer) August 6, 2018
Passengers grew furious, while Norwegian struggled to solve the situation. It operated the A380 from JFK’s overcrowded T1 and the airport simply could not accommodate the aircraft at the original arrival time. The low-cost carrier was stuck with the aircraft, as their Boeing 787 Dreamliners had to be grounded due to issues with their Rolls-Royce engines.
On September 7, 2018, Hi Fly grounded the A380. The airline operated a flight for Air Austral, when their pride and joy, unfortunately, hit a jet bridge at Paris-Charles de Gaulle (CDG):
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
Nevertheless, after initial hiccups in 2018, Hi Fly announced great news back in February 2019. The airline has found a customer for the whole summer season of 2019. Talking to Forbes about the announcement, CEO Paulo Mirpuri also expressed very strong hints that the airline is considering adding more A380s to their fleet, after overcoming initial difficulties with the first one:
“The second [A380] will be a lot easier, so we will be driven by market demand. And we will need to have one full year of operation before we decide about the next one, and the third one, and the fourth one”.
Inactive Hi Fly Summer
However, the Super Jumbo is seeing limited action and is spending more time being stored at Beja (BYJ), rather than flying.
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