The Airbus A380 could have a longer second career as a dense people-mover for charter airlines. They can probably add them cheaply, but like the big airlines, charter carriers will have to contend with high operating costs. Fueling those four engines is not cheap.
Airbus SE’s A380 superjumbo may be ending production in 2021 after lackluster airline sales, but the double-decker giant is proving more of a hit as a high-capacity workhorse in the holiday charter market.
Portuguese leasing specialist Hi Fly expects to acquire “a few” more used A380s after operating flights last summer with a lone plane that provided stop-gap services for Thomas Cook Group Plc, Norwegian Air Shuttle ASA and Air Austral, it told Bloomberg in an email.
Hi Fly became the first customer for a second-hand superjumbo after taking an aircraft returned by Singapore Airlines Ltd. to its owner, German asset manager Doric GmbH, following the end of its original lease. Another fund, Dr. Peters, owns four more jets returned by the Asian carrier, though two are being broken up for spares, and will receive three from Air France starting next year.
Hi Fly’s existing A380, provided complete with crew, continues to attract significant commercial interest and has a “busy season ahead” this summer, the company said. A decision on acquiring more planes will be taken after the completion of a full financial study, it said.
©2019 Bloomberg L.P.
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Photo Credit: Charter operator Hi Fly already has one A380, pictured here. With the A380 program ending, some major airlines may retire their jets early, making more available for secondary operators. Hi Fly