Portuguese wet-lease specialist Hi Fly plans to take delivery of its first Airbus A380 in May or June, the company said April 5. The A380 will be configured in a 471-seat layout with 399 economy class seats on the main deck plus 60 business-class and 12 first-class seats on the upper deck.

The carrier plans to use the aircraft for its core business activity—wet-leasing capacity to other airlines. The aircraft is one of the five former Singapore Airlines aircraft the carrier has been returning to its owners after the first 10-year lease term has ended.

A company spokesperson said that “for now” the acquisition of the first aircraft is all Hi Fly is prepared to communicate, but the company “may buy more.”

Hi Fly has been indicating its interest in the A380 for some time and was originally targeting two Dr. Peters-owned units. However, that deal is understood to have fallen through because the two sides could come to an agreement on commercial terms. Now Hi Fly appears to be buying just one aircraft so far owned by Doric. The airline does not specify the previous owner and Doric declined to comment.

Hi Fly operates a fleet of 15 aircraft, most of them Airbus A330s and A340s. The company also plans to take 10 A330-900s from 2019 onward.

Hi Fly will be the first A380 operator in the second-hand market.

International Airlines Group CEO Willie Walsh has hinted before that British Airways and Iberia could take used A380s if the price was right, but more recently criticized Airbus for having unrealistically high price expectations. According to Walsh, no negotiations have taken place for some time.

Other carriers such as Lufthansa have ruled out taking more A380s; others, like Australian flag carrier Qantas, are no longer interested aircraft on firm order. UK long-haul carrier Virgin Atlantic recently canceled its long-standing commitment for six of the type. A recent Dubai-based Emirates Airline follow-up order for up to 36 more aircraft ensured Airbus can continue producing the aircraft at low rates for some years.

Jens Flottau, jens.flottau@aviationweek.com