HiFly A380 Grounded Indefinitely After Colliding With Jet Bridge
Hi Fly's Airbus A380 (registration 9H-MIP) may very well be the most famous A380 in the skies. Just the sixth A380 to roll off of the manufacturing line and third to be delivered to a customer, the superjumbo found fame after being returned to its owner after a decade of service leased to Singapore Airlines. The financing company turned found a home for the A380 with wet lessor Hi Fly, making this A380 the first ever to be wet leased.
This summer has been an active one for the big aircraft: getting a new paint job, running its first wet leased flight with Thomas Cook and then completing a month flying Norwegian passengers between NYC and London. Of course TPG made sure to check out the ex-Singapore Suites product during one of its first transatlantic flights operating for Norwegian.
Currently, Air Austral is leasing the Hi Fly A380 for flights between Paris' Charles de Gaulle (CDG) and Reunion's Saint-Denis (RUN). Fun fact: Since Reunion is technically a region of France, the 5,809-mile flight is considered to be the "longest non-stop domestic flight":
But, those flights came to a sudden end Friday night. While being towed on the ground in Paris, one of the massive aircraft's engines struck a jet bridge. No passengers were on-board at the time of the incident.
Despite what seems to have been a minor collision causing minor damage, the A380 has been grounded since the incident with flight cancellations (UU978 from CDG-RUN and UU979 from RUN-CDG) stretching through at least Sunday. Air Austral's other daily flight from Paris-Reunion (flights 974 and 975) is still operating using a Boeing 777-300ER.
To try to substitute for the loss of the A380, the airline has pulled a Boeing 777-300ER from other routes to operate a second-daily 777 flight between Paris-Reunion. These flights are operating as flights 971 and 972. This substitution is causing knock-on effects throughout Air Austral's schedule, leading to numerous cancellations and consolidations. Per Reunion's LINFO news service, all affected passengers have been contacted by text or email.