Hi Fly Is Getting Two A380s In The Coming Months (Featuring Suites)!

Last August, Portuguese aircraft leasing company Hi Fly announced that they’d be acquiring two A380s, which they planned to start flying by Spring 2018. This is a pretty big development, as it marks the first time that an A380 is being acquired on the secondhand market.

Over the past few months I’ve been wondering whether this would actually happen, as we haven’t heard much about it. It looks like it really is happening, as Hi Fly Tweeted about it today.

Hi Fly’s two A380 frames will be ex-Singapore Airlines planes, as Singapore Airlines is retiring the first five A380s that they took delivery of, about a decade ago. FlightGlobal notes that Hi Fly will take delivery of these A380s around the middle of the year, and the planes will be maintaining the current configuration.

Originally Hi Fly wanted to reconfigure the plane in a two cabin layout with at least 560 seats, but I guess they’ve decided that process would be too costly, and that they’d rather maintain the current 471 seat layout, which is awesome for consumers.

So these A380s will feature Singapore Airlines’ excellent Suites.

Then the upper deck will consist of a huge business class cabin, with fully flat seats in a 1-2-1 layout.

Then economy will be on the lower deck, in a 3-4-3 configuration.

Hi Fly presently has a fleet consisting primarily of A340 aircraft, which they lease out to airlines on a temporary basis. For example, last year I flew a Hi Fly A340 from Ponta Delgada to Lisbon, which had a retro ex-Emirates interior.

Hi Fly’s A380 plans are a bit different, given how big the plane is. Rather than just leasing the plane to other airlines on a short term basis, Hi Fly hopes to lease these planes for longer periods, to cover increased demand. When this plan was first announced, Hi Fly said that they think their first contract will see an airline leasing an A380 for an entire year, while another lease would be to an airline that has increased demand on a seasonal basis.

The way I see it, Hi Fly is taking a huge risk here, and I can’t wait to see what airlines lease their two A380s. What a special treat that the A380 won’t be reconfigured, so you can expect that it’ll maintain Singapore Airlines’ excellent Suites & business class (though presumably the soft product won’t be as good).

This also potentially gives airlines a chance to “test drive” an A380 for their operations before actually having to buy it, so one has to wonder whether this has the potential to lead to some more A380 orders.

Anyone have guesses as to the first airline to lease a Hi Fly A380?

(Tip of the hat to Wandering Aramean)

Comments

  1. Can EWR handle these A380’s yet? I’d love to have an option to catch one of these out of EWR rather than going to JFK. If TAP “test drove” one for flights to Portugal (huge Portuguese community near EWR) I’d be all over it…yeah, I know about their service issues and don’t care.

  2. Almost thought this was a April Fools joke but than saw the date. Good for the A380
    Perhaps major airlines (asia) can use it for their trunk routes

  3. Recently flew on a HiFly A340 from PER-AKL after Air New Zealand had to send back some of their Dreamliners to Boeing following the Rolls Royce turbine issue. Lovely Portuguese flight attendants but the hard product was kinda rough. Would be super cool to try the same >7hr trip in Suite Class!

  4. My guess for the airline(s) would be those affected by the 787 engine problems. Perhaps VS or NZ?

  5. @Leo Galvin I live in Perth and am headed to Wellington in a month i specifically avoided NZ for that reason I am now flying QF (via Sydney) which I will at least get business on both flights as Nz WLG – AKL was a regional plane another factor as why QF won also their business fares where slightly cheaper than NZ though that being said I might have specifically sought out NZ and Hi Fly they had the A380.

  6. Air France will be happy as they are leasing most of hi fly’s fleet due to industrial action
    I avoided flying on them recently as they transferred me to KLM

  7. It sucks it’s getting painted on that HI Flu scheme. I would love if it would be all white, maybe just a skull with an eye patch and two bones on the tail.
    Welcome to pirate airlines…

  8. Biman is taking delivery of 4×B788s with the first arriving on August, 2018. The aircraft’s will feature free WiFi, mobile connectivity and IFE with 9 live TV channels all provided by Panasonic. The airline will be the second in the subcontinent to provide WiFi. Reported on: Prothom Alo( Bangladeshi news agency).

  9. I thought SQ does not allow their cabins to be inherited by companies buying their planes.

    Great news for A380!

  10. I highly doubted BA would ever truly consider this – but their stunt with Titan Airways out of Gatwick, their thinking of getting additional A380s but new ones “too expensive” and the Hi Fly livery being closer to BA than anything else on the market – Club World and direct aisle access seem to happen in 2018 already, haha

  11. @Gary , very very little. The only other resale market was decimated by the recent Saudi hotel/prison convention.

    @Lucky, airlines don’t need to test drive this product to understand how ludicrous it is for nearly all of them. It would be shocking to see new orders based on this — especially given the lead times on getting those filled. Anyone buying now would be taking delivery in a very different world. Is there trade? Are people banned from entering Country XYZ? Makes no sense to bet on a plane like this after ignoring it forever.

    Now, getting access to one cheaply? Sure! Why the heck not!

  12. Also got to fly in old Emirates first class on a Hi Fly A340 from Auckland to Sydney about a month ago due to Air New Zealand’s Dreamliner engine issues. I was actually excited about the change after reading Lucky’s review (kind of a novelty to fly Emirates without flying Emirates). The best part was the endless amount of legroom.

    Unfortunately, the seats were falling apart, Hi Fly’s service was the worst I’ve ever experienced, and the landing was very rough. Economy was served beverages and meals long before business class was, the food was inedible once we did get it, there were no drink refills, their language skills were severely lacking, and then the flight attendants never bothered to pick up the food trays from the entire cabin until right before landing–and this wasn’t a short flight. If you wanted to get rid of the food tray then you had to take it up to the galley yourself.

    I would not be in a hurry to fly with Hi Fly again, no matter what kind of seat or plane they had.

  13. I would definitely keep an eye to that..SQ Suites and huge C seats…yeah, it is still win! Look how MH is struggling..at the moment these A380 are on the ICN route…
    perhaps on the chinese market..huge amount of pax and the slots are getting rare as well as traffic congestion…so it only makes sense on routes or market which they are profitable..

  14. “The way I see it, Hi Fly is taking a huge risk here, and I can’t wait to see what airlines lease their two A380s.”

    Can you elaborate on this? I dont know the price they are purchasing these A380s for. Probably the price is rather low which translates into low capital cost. The low capital cost means that they can afford to have low utilisation of their aircraft. You can then lease your planes out on a temporary basis.

    Sure, there is some risk involved, but is it really that huge?

  15. …why do I always chuckle when reading “Hi Fly”and think of David Walliams in “Fly Low”…

  16. No one thought of Norwegian may want to try the A380 by Hi Fly?? They use Hi Fly mostly for their LGW-JFK routes now that 787s are being refitted with new engines…

  17. @AlexD

    actually not a bad idea…a SQ A380 with nice Eco seats and for the Premium Class pax, they have these great huge C class seats!! And for those who want to splash more cash out, why not try a Suite!!..all great ideas, right??…But how does the catering will look light??…Pretty odd I would say..with the typical small box catering in Premium class..it looks a bit stingy…well, just ordered two serves…it will be fine…I am game on with the idea!!

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