Wet-lease specialist Hi Fly will operate initial Airbus A380 services for start-up Global Airlines, but the company is aiming to secure its own UK air operator’s certificate.

Hi Fly has previous experience in Airbus A380 operations having used an ex-Singapore Airlines aircraft, MSN6, for about two years on wet-lease services.

The company withdrew the type towards the end of 2020, as the pandemic weakened the long-haul market – particularly for high-capacity aircraft – and the jet was returned to lessor Doric.

But Global Airlines, which is pursuing its own A380 operation, last year recruited Hi Fly to take advantage of its technical, maintenance and secondary-market experience with the type and speed up Global’s ambitious plans to commence services.

With Global’s acquisition of an ex-China Southern Airlines A380 – the terms of which have not been disclosed – the tie-up with Hi Fly is developing into an operational partnership.

Ex-China Southern Global Airlines A380-c-N509FZ Creative Commons

Source: N509FZ/Creative Commons

Hi Fly will operate MSN120 which has been placed on the Maltese registry

Global confirms that Hi Fly’s Maltese arm will operate the aircraft, MSN120, on Global’s behalf when initial flights commence “later this year”.

MSN120 has been added to the Maltese registry.

“We’ll be working with Hi Fly and a number of other industry partners…on getting the aircraft back into service as soon as possible,” says Global.

The aircraft – currently configured with 506 seats in three classes – is to undergo “full interior refurbishment”, says Global, with UK firm JetMS Completions undertaking the work.

Global Airlines A380 interior-c-Global Airlines

Source: Global Airlines

Although the initial A380 will undergo refurbishment, subsequent aircraft will have an overhauled interior

JetMS Completions, which has facilities at Biggin Hill, will implement designs drawn up by interiors specialist Factorydesign. Global selected JetMS last year for a “multi-aircraft” contract.

While the initial aircraft will have a refurbished “version one” cabin, to enable early entry into service, later aircraft will have the interior “completely overhauled” to the “highest specification”, says Global.

Global says its “ultimate plan” is to acquire a UK air operator’s certificate and work to that end is “ongoing”.

“There are a number of avenues being explored and we are in regular conversation with all the relevant bodies about our longer-term plans,” it states.