With the pandemic throwing the travel plans of people out of whack, and the growth plans of airlines into a tailspin, most airlines have taken to some sort of cargo flights, where the cargo flies above the belly in the cabin as well, to recoup some revenue in these times. However, what do you do when you have an A380 just for charter flights, and you are competing for the same business?
HiFly, the wet-lease operator who had acquired an A380 earlier being used by Singapore Airlines, was caught in such a situation when it was not getting enough charter runs for the A380 on a passenger configuration last year. So, 2020 was perhaps even worse, because most people stopped travelling between February and March 2020. So, HiFly, the Portugal-based airline, decided to throw its ring in the hat for some cargo business by reconfiguring their sole A380.
Here is how the A380 looks on the inside now. I assume they left some seats on there in case some people were travelling to handle the cargo or generally did not need the space outside of the marked areas.
Both the main deck and upper deck of the plane have been reconfigured and all the economy seats are gone. This is how the aircraft looks now on the inside. The aircraft can still only take boxes in the main cabin and upper deck, and palates only in the belly of the plane. As you would notice, the more expensive J and F class are left behind since it takes more time and effort and perhaps money to remove them and reinstall them as well.
The Hi-Fly Airbus A380-800 is now able to offer more than 300 cubic metres of volume capacity and close to 60 tons of cargo uplift capacity. We had earlier in the year heard that Lufthansa Technik had a customer interested in getting an A380 reconfigured.
This sure should increase the use of the aircraft for transferring goods in one go, but whether it will be economically viable still needs to be seen. Let’s hope they get more business with this aircraft now.
What do you think of the biggest cargo jet in the world?
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