News on Hi Fly Airbus A380 has never stopped, from when it was first unveiled last year on Farnborough, to Norwegian leased it to fly the popular London-New York route. Now, an unexpected airline company, Estelar Latinoamérica, leased this aircraft to replace its Airbus A340 to fly from Caracas to Madrid and Buenos Aires.
Hi Fly is an airline specialized in wet lease, which means the plane, crew, and maintenance are all provided. The airline operates a fleet consisting of Airbus A320, A330, A340, and A380. The current A380 they have was originally operated by Singapore Airlines and the aircraft is still keeping the original cabin interior.
Estelar Latinoamérica is a Venezuelan airline based at Simón Bolívar International Airport. Its small fleet consists of 3 Boeing B737-200s and 3 B737-300s, with another Airbus A340-300 leased from Hi Fly to operate long-haul flights.
Currently, the only aircraft that can operate long-haul flights is under maintenance, which is why the airline decided to lease another A380.
This Airbus A380, MSN 006 and registered as 9H-MIP, is a 3-cabin aircraft with 12 First Class Suites in a 1-2-1 configuration on the main deck, 60 Business Class seats in a 1-2-1 configuration on the upper deck and 399 Economy Class seats in a 3-4-3 configuration on the main deck and a 2-4-2 configuration on the upper deck.
On July 14th, the aircraft finished its first flight from Madrid to Caracas, with a flight time of 7 hours and 48 minutes.
For the next two weeks, this aircraft is expected to fly from Caracas to Madrid and Buenos Aires. Below is a timetable shared by Twitter user @Enrique77W.
After the first flight landed, which is also the first arrival of Airbus A380 at Caracas, the airport welcomed it with a traditional water gate ceremony.
From the pictures, we can see the airport is using stairs to unload passengers; I would guess Caracas does not have jet bridge facilities suitable for the SuperJumbo.
This is definitely a rare route for such a huge aircraft. It is interesting to note that the aircraft can only operate during daytime at Caracas airport and only the main deck will be operational. While we expect everything to go well but if some unexpectedness happens at Caracas, the first question I would ask is how would Hi Fly deal with it. Considering there is no maintenance centre at the airport and Hi Fly brings its own tow bar with the plane, even a broken tire would become a huge problem there.