SuperJumbo back in the game as Airbus finds second-hand market

Portuguese airline Hi Fly have announced a purchase of two used models of Airbus A380s – rescuing the aircraft from oblivion

The most spacious commercial aircraft has received another stay of execution as a Lisbon based carrier, Hi Fly, has decided to enrich its fleet with two used Airbus A380s that formerly served Singapore Airlines.

“Hi Fly is taking delivery of its first Airbus A380, the world’s largest and most spacious airliner,” the Portuguese carrier said in a tweet.

“The arrival is a major event for the company, making it the first Portuguese and the fourth European airline operating the model.”

Between 2007 and 2017 the two double-deck planes were flown by Singapore Airlines, who then returned them to Tarbes Lourdes Pyrénées airport in south-west France once their lease ended.

With the purchase, Hi Fly will join British Airways, Air France and Lufthansa, who are the only European airlines operating the SuperJumbo.

The programme behind the Airbus A380 has been struck by a raft of issues, as the launch of the plane suffered from bad timing. The anticipated arrival of the magnificent aircraft coincided with the onset of the world economic crisis in 2008, affecting the whole travel sector.

Emirates purchased more than a half of the SuperJumbos — VanderWolf Images / Shutterstock Airbus A380
Emirates purchased more than a half of the SuperJumbos — VanderWolf Images / Shutterstock

Only 223 SuperJumbos have been delivered out of the 331 total preorders, and almost half of those have been purchased by Emirates.

Airbus has said they would kill the entire project if more sales don’t come.

“If we can’t work out a deal with Emirates, then I think there is no choice but to shut down the programme,” they said in January.

With the materialisation of a second-hand market, Airbus now believes sales of the A380 could be boosted, mainly because of the increased growth of aviation overall and the fact that airport infrastructure is failing to expand, leading to the need of more spacious aircrafts.