Hi Fly has announced that it will retire its sole Airbus A380 by the end of this year.
The Portuguese airline, specialised in charter flights and wet-leasing took delivery in July 2018, making it the fourth European operator of the aircraft type at that time. Although the company only received a used A380 that was formally operated by launch customer Singapore Airlines, it is one of only 15 airlines around the world to have ever operated the type.
Its 2006-built A380 was registered in Malta as 9H-MIP via subsidiary Hi Fly Malta. It was well known among the aviation community for its unique, two-sided special livery.
Amid the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, Hi Fly says it has decided to not renew the leasing contract that runs out later in 2020, as there is no longer a demand for aircraft of this size. According to the airline, the superjumbo will be replaced by additional Airbus A330s, which it calls “a smaller and more adequate aircraft for current market conditions“.
Two other European airlines have recently removed the Airbus A380 from service due to the Coronavirus crisis. Air France retired the aircraft type entirely, while German flag-carrier Lufthansa has grounded it indefinitely.
Jakob Wert is an aviation journalist from Germany. He built up the website IFN.news and is the Editor-In-Chief of International Flight Network.