UK start-up Global Airlines’ first Airbus A380 has arrived in Scotland ahead of undergoing maintenance and an interior refurbishment before being put into service.

The ex-China Southern Airlines aircraft departed its storage location at Mojave on 30 April, for a 17h journey to Glasgow Prestwick via a refuelling stop at Montreal Mirabel.

Portuguese wet-lease specialist Hi Fly carried out the ferry flight which, unusually, was undertaken with the landing-gear extended. Hi Fly attributes this to the unavailability of jacks at Mojave which would have allowed additional maintenance on the jet.

Although the A380 would have been capable of operating Mojave-Prestwick non-stop, the additional fuel-burn from the extended undercarriage limited its range, forcing the Montreal fuel-stop.

The Mojave-Montreal sector was around 2,150nm and the onward flight to Prestwick some 2,800nm, with the aircraft flying at a lower altitude than normal.

“Additional flight-time was planned to avoid demanding weather, such as thunderstorms and severe icing,” says Hi Fly.

Global Airlines says the aircraft has “far more access” to infrastructure and technical specialism in Europe.

Preparation for the transfer flight was undertaken in collaboration with Hi Fly, Airbus, the US FAA and the Maltese civil aviation directorate.

Airbus has supported technical assessments while the Hi Fly crew underwent simulator training on the type.

MHV A380 Global-c-Maurer 8 Photography

Source: Maurer 8 Photography

MSN120 departs Mojave for Montreal and Glasgow

Global Airlines says it secured approval for the flight on 26 April.

“There were moments when I thought the aircraft would not make it out of America,” says Global founder James Asquith.

But he says the arrival of the aircraft at Prestwick – the first landing for the type at the Scottish airport – means the company is “in a position and a place where we can take even further strides forward”.

The company states that it will assist with developing “new maintenance capabilities” at Prestwick to advance the initial A380’s progress towards operations.

Hi Fly vice-chair Carlos Mirpuri, the chief pilot for the flight, says: “This was a long journey across America and the Atlantic, and all went as expected.”

Asquith says Global Airlines plans to “showcase” more of its product offering during a “really busy” summer period.