Hi Fly’s former Airbus A380 may have just undertaken its final flight. Having been repainted into an all-white livery in Abu Dhabi, the aircraft has now positioned to Tarbes in France. While the aircraft’s fate seems unconfirmed, its sisters were scrapped at the facility.
Now is a bad time to be an Airbus A380. While many airlines have yet to confirm firm retirement plans for the type, it is looking unlikely that some airlines’ fleets will return to the sky. Last year Hi Fly pulled the plug on its Airbus A380 wet lease aircraft. Now, it looks to have been retired.
A final flight?
Last year Hi Fly revealed that it would be retiring its sole Airbus A380. While the airline had managed to make some use of the aircraft in its first years, this all changed with the impact of a global pandemic. Following its time at Hi Fly, the aircraft was repositioned to Toulouse before being flown to Abu Dhabi.
— Aviation Toulouse (@Frenchpainter) March 16, 2021
During its stay in Abu Dhabi, the aircraft lost its iconic ‘save the coral reefs livery’, and has been repainted in a plain white livery. Yesterday the aircraft was ferried from Abu Dhabi to Toulouse. According to data from FlightRadar24.com, the aircraft departed at Toulouse at 13:24 today. After a short 26 minute flight, it landed at Tarbes at 13:50.
What will become of the aircraft?
It’s unclear exactly what will become of the aircraft. However, its prospects do look slim. The second-hand market for the giant of the skies is non-existent and unlikely to build post-pandemic. The aircraft is one of the oldest remaining Airbus A380s. With so many other airlines looking to retire their fleets, if a customer were to appear for second-hand A380s, they would likely be interested in much younger models first.
While Tarbes was the site where the first two Airbus A380s were scrapped, it also plays a role as a long-term storage facility. Many Airbus A380s from various carriers, including Etihad, Emirates, Lufthansa, and Air France, reside at the Tarmac Aerospace facility. Its sister site, Teruel in Spain, also hosts several A380s from the likes of British Airways, Air France, and Lufthansa.
In an interview with a local publication back in early February, the Teruel site director revealed that none of its A380s are set to be scrapped. The Hi Fly A380 was the fourth A380 to be delivered to Singapore Airlines. While the first two were already dismantled to make keyrings, it appears that Tarbes’ other A380s, including the third Singapore Airlines model that was also due to go to Hi Fly at one point, are just in storage for the time being.
What do you think will become of this Airbus A380? Let us know what you think and why in the comments.