World’s Biggest Passenger Jet Starts New Life

(Bloomberg) -- Danish tourists bound for Cyprus on Wednesday were set to get more room than they bargained for as the first used A380 superjumbo begins its new life with a trip to the Mediterranean holiday island from Copenhagen.

The Airbus SE plane, the world’s biggest passenger jet, will depart for Larnaca at 8:15 p.m. local time and complete the journey in about 4 hours, a comparative hop for an aircraft that previously operated between Singapore and far-flung cities across the globe.

The superjumbo, registration 9H-MIP, will perform the flight for Thomas Cook Group Plc’s Scandinavian arm after the tour operator was left without an aircraft following a technical issue on the Greek island of Rhodes. The service would ordinarily use an Airbus A321 narrow-body plane with less than half the capacity of an A380, a model that’s popular with passengers but has struggled to win orders as airlines prefer smaller, more efficient jets.

The double-decker was relocated to Copenhagen from Beja in Portugal, home base to the plane’s new operator Hi Fly -- which is leasing it from owner Doric for almost six years -- data from tracking service Flightradar24 shows.

A further flight will see the A380 operate from Oslo to Majorca and back on Thursday, according to London-based Thomas Cook, which said its using the jet as a stop-gap. That suggests it’s not the client Hi Fly Chief Executive Officer Paulo Mirpuri said in July would lease the plane for several months.

Hi Fly will likely need to find a succession of customers willing to take the superjumbo on a short-term or seasonal basis through the life of its contract. The A380 was returned to its German owner Doric earlier this year after a decade of service with Singapore Airlines Ltd.

©2018 Bloomberg L.P.