The Airbus A380 will lose another customer by the end of the year, the Portuguese wet lease operator Hi Fly. The airline announced on Tuesday that it will return its only aircraft, registered 9H-MIP, to lessor Doric as soon as the contract is terminated.
“The decision to not extend the initial agreed lease period came as a consequence of the covid-19 pandemic, that drastically reduced the demand for very large aircraft,” the company explained in a statement.
An exclusive operator of Airbus aircraft, Hi Fly said it would replace the double deck jet with A330 units, “a smaller and more adequate aircraft for current market conditions.”
Hi Fly’s only A380 entered service in 2018, after flying for several years with Singapore Airlines. The initial experience was positive to the point that the company considered leasing more aircraft for use in special services around the world.
During the pandemic, the company adapted the A380 to transport cargo, but the demand was not sufficient to justify the high cost of operation. With retirement at Hi Fly, only British Airways and Lufthansa maintain Airbus’ aircraft in Europe – Air France retired the last A380 in July.