Skift Take

It's not unusual for an established airliner to go on to a second career as a charter aircraft. But it's rare that a charter company like Hi-Fly to get an aircraft so new. That's what happens when an aircraft falls out of favor in the industry. Only a few major airlines see much of a future for the superjumbo.

Danish tourists bound for Cyprus on Wednesday were set to get more room than they bargained for as the first used A380 superjumbo begins its new life with a trip to the Mediterranean holiday island from Copenhagen.

The Airbus SE plane, the world’s biggest passenger jet, will depart for Larnaca at 8:15 p.m. local time and complete the journey in about 4 hours, a comparative hop for an aircraft that previously operated between Singapore and far-flung cities across the globe.

The superjumbo, registration 9H-MIP, will perform the flight for Thomas Cook Group Plc’s Scandinavian arm after the tour operator was left without an aircraft following a technical issue on the Greek island of Rhodes. The service would ordinarily use an Airbus A321 narrow-body plane with less than half the capacity of an A380, a model that’s popular with passengers but has struggled to win orders as airlines prefer smaller, more efficient jets.

The double-decker was relocated to Copenhagen from Beja in Portugal, home base to the plane’s new operator Hi Fly — which is leasing it from owner Doric for almost six years — data from tracking service Flightradar24 shows.

A further flight will see the A380 operate from Oslo to Majorca and back on Thursday, according to London-based Thomas Cook, which said its using the jet as a stop-gap. That suggests it’s not the client Hi Fly Chief Executive Officer Paulo Mirpuri said in July would lease the plane for several months.

Hi Fly will likely need to find a succession of customers willing to take the superjumbo on a short-term or seasonal basis through the life of its contract. The A380 was returned to its German owner Doric earlier this year after a decade of service with Singapore Airlines Ltd.

©2018 Bloomberg L.P.

This article was written by Benjamin Katz and Richard Weiss from Bloomberg and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to

Subscribe to Skift Pro

Subscribe to Skift Pro to get unlimited access to stories like these ($30/month)

Subscribe Now

Tags: a380, airbus

Photo credit: Charter operator Hi Fly recently received its first Airbus A380. The aircraft, painted in a special scheme, carried its first paying passengers on Wednesday. Hi Fly

Up Next

Loading next stories