Hi Fly has retired its sole Airbus A380 after 2 and a half years of operating the aircraft. The aircraft registered 9H-MIP entered the Hi Fly fleet in July 2018 after being retired by Singapore Airlines in 2017, its original operator, where it flew for 9 years.
9H-MIP, MSN 006, is the only A380, so far, to enter the second-hand market with Hi Fly taking over the aircraft as a charter and leasing the A380 to airlines across the world. The aircraft was painted in a special ‘Save the Coral Reefs’ livery.
During its time operating for Hi Fly, the aircraft operated 268 flights and was used by a variety of airlines, mainly Norwegian Air.
The aircraft was used during the COVID-19 pandemic to transport medical supplies and carry passengers on repatriation flights. It was the first A380 to be converted into a cargo configuration.
Originally Hi Fly had big plans for the A380 with the airline set to take on a number of the type. However, these plans never came to fruition and the lease of the aircraft was not renewed. The airline used the COVID-19 as a reason for this, stating the aircraft was too big for the current demand. The airline will order additional A330s to fill the void left behind by the A380.
During 9H-MIPs retirement flight the aircraft drew the shape of a heart in the sky. The aircraft departed its base in Beja, Portugal for Toulouse, the aircraft’s original birthplace.
9H-MIPs retirement is the latest event in a series of setbacks for the A380, which has been heavily impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic and slump in air travel. A number of airlines have grounded the aircraft indefinitely. Currently, only Emirates, Korean Air and China Southern Airlines are operating the A380 leaving the majority of the fleet on the ground.
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