Key Points:

  • UK's Global Airlines is keenly monitoring the Airbus A380 market as it strategizes to extend its services beyond transatlantic routes.

  • The airline has already signed contracts to procure four A380s and is exploring various stages of discussions with different entities regarding fleet expansion over the next decade.

  • While scheduled services are set to commence in the second half of 2024, the company intends to establish a presence on every continent.

LONDON — UK-based airline, Global Airlines, is actively scanning the Airbus A380 marketplace as it gears up to extend its flight network. “Every A380 that is currently available or is being contemplated for the market is on our radar. We're either already discussing potential acquisitions or strategizing the best approach for these talks,” shared Richard Stephenson, the airline's Chief Commercial Officer, at the Routes World event in Istanbul.

Developing the Fleet for the Next Decade 

While Stephenson mentioned that 251 A380s have been produced globally, he remained discreet about the exact number of A380s the airline is eyeing. “Acquiring an aircraft is a comprehensive process that doesn't need to be rushed. Our focus is on how we expand our fleet in the coming five to ten years,” he commented.

Inroads into the Airbus A380 Market

Global Airlines isn't new to the A380 domain. The company has already inked deals to purchase four A380s. The inaugural aircraft, tagged as 9H-GLOBL, is soon to be leased from the U.S.-based provider, Hi Fly, under their Maltese air operator’s certificate (AOC). This aircraft will then head to Portugal in the forthcoming weeks for an overhaul. It's noteworthy that Hi Fly, headquartered in Lisbon and a past A380 operator, is the announced technical associate of Global Airlines. Stephenson also highlighted future plans, stating, “We aim to transition to a UK AOC for our routine operations in due time.”

Operational Plans and Services 

Scheduled to kickstart its regular services in 2024's latter half, Global Airlines has charted out daily flights to New York and four-weekly trips to Los Angeles. But their ambition doesn't stop at transatlantic routes. They aim to have operational touchpoints across all continents. Speaking on the skepticism surrounding the Global Airlines project, Stephenson candidly remarked, “We're fully aware of the challenges in birthing an airline, but we're prepared.”

Confidence in the A380 Strategy 

As an exclusive A380 operator, Stephenson holds no reservations about the plane's capacity. He emphasized the demand, noting, “To fill an A380, only a marginal share of the transatlantic market is required.” The airline's A380s will have two seating arrangements: one with about 470 seats and another close to 450. All planes will feature a tri-class design, encompassing first, business, and economy sections. Stephenson also gave a sneak peek of the novel business-class seats on the upcoming 'version two' aircraft and teased the inclusion of a "grazing" area in each cabin for passengers to access refreshments.