Hi Fly’s Airbus A380 Returns To Service Following Maintenance
The Hi Fly A380 hasn’t been spotted for many weeks, and now we know why. The giant jumbo…
The Hi Fly A380 hasn’t been spotted for many weeks, and now we know why. The giant jumbo has been undergoing maintenance at a company in the south of France. Yesterday, 9H-MIP returned to Hi Fly’s home in Beja, so perhaps we’ll see some more action in the coming weeks.
Where is Hi Fly’s A380?
The Hi Fly A380 is perhaps the most followed giant jumbo in the world. Famously the only wet lease A380 in the world, Simple Flying regularly follows its activity as it undertakes various missions on behalf of other airlines.
However, the Hi Fly A380 has been absent from the skies for quite some time. The company had previously announced the launch of ‘COVID Ready To Go’ teams, who would specialize in repatriation flights for those stranded during the pandemic. We hoped this meant we’d see more appearances of the A380, registered 9H-MIP, getting people home from destinations around the world.
While many of Hi Fly’s planes have been busy during the crisis, including one A340 that flew one of the longest flights by the type in history, the A380 has not appeared. Now, it’s become clear where the big blue plane has been hiding.
Today we have redelivered #A380 to @hifly_airline after #Bcheck
She arrived in our #Tarbes facilities on 29 Feb. 2020.
Blue skies! #AircraftMaintenance #MRO pic.twitter.com/h89uYe8nOt
— TARMAC Aerosave (@TarmacAerosave) April 30, 2020
It seems that, since the end of February, 9H-MIP has been in the south of France, getting essential maintenance work done at a company called Tarmac Aerosave.
Getting the B check done
All aircraft are required to undergo detailed inspections periodically throughout their service, and these checks are casually referred to using letters of the alphabet between A and D. The A and B checks are considered lighter checks, while the C and D are heavier and more involved.
Usually, the A and B checks can be performed by MRO facilities at the home airport, while aircraft are often flown away to specialist companies for the heavier checks. Hi Fly has begun building its own MRO hangar at Beja, at a cost of €30m ($33m), but it is not yet complete. Its completion is planned by September this year.
As such Hi Fly used the services of Tarmac Aerosave to conduct the B check for its A380. These checks are usually performed every six to eight months, and take around 180 man hours to complete. This means it can be done as fast as just three days, but in the case of the Hi Fly A380, it’s taken somewhat longer.
The A380 arrived in Tarbes on February 29th, so it’s been more than two months out of action. However, yesterday it returned to Portugal and is ready to get back to work.
The A380 heads back to Portugal
With the B check all completed, Tarmac Aerosave delivered the A380 back to Hi Fly at its base in Beja. The A380 is unable to land in Lisbon, so Hi Fly keeps it in Beja when it’s not being leased out for missions.
9H-MIP took off from Tarmac Aerosave yesterday at just before 19:00. The short, almost 900km journey took it just an hour and 20 minutes, with the A380 landing in Beja at 18:13 local time.
Now that Hi Fly has its giant jumbo back, could we see it back in action soon? Possibly, although with many of the repatriation flights starting to be wrapped up now, the need for such a large plane on lease is less urgent. The A380 doesn’t make a great cargo shifter, due to issues with its maximum takeoff weight, although it could cope with some PPE shipments.
Have you seen the Hi Fly A380 in action? Ever flown on it? Let us know about your experience in the comments.