A small European airline you’ve never heard of will fly the Airbus A380

An Airbus A380.

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An Airbus A380.
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Airbus

  • The Airbus A380 has found a new airline customer with Portugal’s Hi Fly.
  • Hi Fly confirmed it will acquire a pair of used A380s with the first plane set to arrive this year.
  • The first Hi Fly A380 is coming off lease after a decade with Singapore Airlines.

The Airbus A380 has found a new home. On Thursday, Lisbon, Portugal-based Hi Fly announced that it will acquire a pair of Airbus A380s.

It will be the first Portuguese and only the fourth European airline to operate the superjumbo after Lufthansa, Air France, and British Airways.

Hi Fly which is known for operating flights on behalf of governments and other airlines has confirmed that it will take delivery of its first superjumbo some time in the middle of 2018.

“It is a very proud moment for Hi Fly,” airline president Paulo Mirpuri said in a statement. “The Airbus A380 is the largest and most advanced airliner flying today and certainly the aircraft of choice for the most discerning air travelers. This acquisition has been part of our company’s plans for a while.”

Hi Fly’s first A380 has been identified as the sixth superjumbo built and is coming off lease after a decade in service with Singapore Airlines.

Here is Hi Fly's incoming A380 while in service with Singapore Airlines.

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Here is Hi Fly’s incoming A380 while in service with Singapore Airlines.
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Flickr/Aero Icarus

The plane has been in storage since the end of 2017 after being retired from the service.

Hi Fly will retain Singapore’s seating configuration which will consist of 399 passengers in economy, 60 in business, and 12 in first class.

The Hi Fly A380 will be powered by four Rolls-Royce Trent 900 turbofan engines and will be equipped with Panasonic seatback in-flight entertainment systems.

A second A380 is expected to arrive sometime next year. An airline spokesperson told Business Insider that the second jet’s arrival may be expedited if demand for A380 service exceeds the company’s expectation.

The Hi Fly currently operates a fleet of 15 Airbus A330 and A340 wide-body jets. The airline’s core business is the wet leasing of airliners around the world. This means Hi Fly will, for a fee, provide the lessee with an aircraft, crew, maintenance, and insurance.