A new era for the double-deck Airbus jetliner

Hi Fly, a Portuguese company with an all-Airbus fleet has become the first operator of a second-hand A380. It’s a move that marks the beginning of a new era for the programme and demonstrates Airbus’ continued commitment to the passenger favourite double-deck widebody airliner.

The A380 programme is young – the first aircraft entered into service in October 2007 – and so when MSN006 came off lease after 10 years of airline operation, its lessor looked for support from Airbus in finding a new operator.

“From the beginning we knew it would be good for us to help build a market for second-hand aircraft,” said Catherine Bras, Airbus’ A380 business development platform leader. “We think this is a great opportunity to show what the aircraft can do. There may be some airlines that were hesitant to commit long-term who can now try out an A380 and see what it can do for them. This could help create new routes and expand the market base.”

Leasing arrangements

After discussions with the lessor and potential customers, a deal came together with Hi Fly, a specialist in ‘wet lease’ operations, also known in the aviation industry as ACMI (aircraft, crew, maintenance and insurance). The company will lease the aircraft and crew to airlines who, for example, need to replace a grounded aircraft or want additional short-term capacity to meet passenger demand.

Commenting on the aircraft’s delivery in July, Hi Fly President and CEO Paulo Mirpuri said: "We welcome the arrival of the Airbus A380 in our fleet and we are extremely happy with the market reaction so far on this new availability in our wet lease product offering.” He also praised the aircraft’s comfort and environmental performance.

Ensuring a smooth service entry

Valerie Manning, the head of Customer Support at Airbus added: “Hi Fly is a very capable all-Airbus operator, and we provided them with the necessary support to facilitate a smooth entry into service of their first A380. This package comprises, among other things, onsite field service and a flight hour services for components offer.”

The Airbus portfolio includes full turnkey solutions and a range of à la carte offerings, according to Manning, with the company able to develop customised packages for second-hand A380 operators as it does for other Airbus aircraft, given our experience in the active second-hand market.”