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Global Airlines Partners with Hi Fly to Accelerate A380 Startup

The startup airline has partnered with one of the world's largest Airbus operators to launch services using its four Airbus A380s

by Enrique Perrella

September 28, 2023

Photo: Hi Fly, Airbus A380. Courtesy of Hi Fly

Global Airlines, the new and ambitious entrant into the airline industry, has joined forces with Hi Fly, the Lisbon-based airline with previous expertise in A380 aircraft, to expedite the Entry into Service (EIS) program for its four A380s.

The new airline, founded by CEO James Asquith, is gearing up to launch services, aiming to redefine the passenger flying experience. To ensure a seamless introduction of its A380 aircraft, Global Airlines has tapped into Hi Fly’s knowledge of the world’s largest passenger aircraft.

Photo: Richard Stephenson, Global Airlines CCO (Left) and Antonios Efthymiou Hi Fly CEO (Right). Courtesy of Global Airlines

Hi Fly, known for its global operations, conducts approximately 35,000 flights annually for 140 airlines and governments worldwide. The airline is also considered the largest Airbus widebody aircraft wet lease specialist, holding EASA and IOSA certifications and FAA approval.

With Air Operator Certificates (AOCs) in Portugal and Malta, Hi Fly operates a substantial fleet of Airbus aircraft, including the A320, A330, and A340, available for wet lease and charter services worldwide.

The airline’s clientele encompasses airlines, governments, tour operators, freight forward companies, private individuals, and the military, reflecting their extensive operational expertise developed over 17 years.

World’s First Second-Hand A380 Operator

The Portuguese airline became the first second-hand operator of the Airbus A380 aircraft when it acquired a stored plane that once flew for Singapore Airlines. The company then leased the double-decker plane to other airlines on a contract basis. After nearly three years of service operating for multiple airlines worldwide, the Hi Fly Airbus A380 took its final flight in December 2020, during the peak of the pandemic.

Since then, Asquith and his team saw an opportunity and approached Hi Fly as an ideal Global Airlines collaborator. Their shared commitment to transforming the passenger flying experience and harnessing the full potential of the A380 forms the foundation of this partnership.

Photo: James Asquith, founder and CEO of Global Airlines. Courtesy of Global Airlines

The immediate focus of this collaboration is the Entry into Service and Return to Service (RTS) processes for Global Airlines’ initial aircraft, slated to begin operations in 2024.

Asquith expressed his excitement about the partnership, emphasizing the importance of collaborating with experienced partners. He highlighted Hi Fly’s invaluable expertise in maintaining and technically accepting the A380 aircraft as a crucial step in introducing Global’s new interiors and other vital elements to elevate the passenger experience.

Likewise, Antonios Efthymiou, CEO and Accountable Manager for Hi Fly shared his enthusiasm for the collaboration and echoed the belief in the A380’s potential to revolutionize passenger flying. He underlined the synergies between the two organizations and their shared vision for the future of aviation.

Global Airlines, a subsidiary of Holiday Swap Group, was established in 2023 to provide passengers with an unparalleled flying experience. The airline hopes to launch its first commercial flights from London Gatwick Airport (LGW) to New York John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK) in 2024, with plans to later expand to Los Angeles International Airport (LAX).

The new carrier has already partnered with American Express, which will provide special privileges to passengers and cardmembers alike.

Global Airlines hopes the superjumbo plane will help it redefine transatlantic travel. “Our aspiration is to be the best way to fly, and the A380, with its unmatched levels of space, comfort, and service, will be absolutely central to achieving that vision,” Asquith said.