Inching closer to revenue service, UK start-up Global Airlines on 2 February took ownership of its first Airbus A380 jumbo jet bearing the serial number (MSN) 120. The aircraft is a Rolls-Royce Trent 970-engined A380-841. Previously in service with China Southern Airlines as B-6140, the A380 is now listed as 9H-GLOBL on Malta’s civil register.
Global Airlines’ prior guidance suggested that it had acquired its first A380 from aircraft remarketing specialist Doric Aviation for an undisclosed price. But 9H-GLOBL passed into Global ownership via Missouri-based Jet Midwest Group. Registered to the US company as N123KK on 24 January 2023, the A380 had been in storage in the Mojave aircraft boneyard since 21 December 2022.
Liam McKay, Global Airlines’ international corporate affairs director has confirmed to Runway Girl Network that Global remains loyal to its agreement to acquire MSN 006 through Doric, but that aircraft was ‘overtaken’ by MSN 120. Revealed McKay:
We saw a quicker route to commercial operation for MSN 120.
In a somewhat unusual move, Global Airlines provided journalists with a copy of the certificate of registration for the aircraft. 9H-GLOBL’s certificate of registration lists wet-lease specialist Hi Fly as ‘Aircraft Registrant’, whilst Global Airlines Ltd is named as ‘Aircraft Owner’.
The new entrant is focused on using Hi Fly’s own A380 expertise during the return to service programme. Indeed, Hi Fly is “expected to operate the first ferry flight” of the A380 from Mojave Air & Space Port, Global Airlines’ latest statement reads. It is believed, however, that Global Airlines aims to ultimately secure its own UK air operator’s certificate.
With plans to launch A380 services from London to New York and Los Angeles, Global Airlines said Mojave-based Business Class Aviation (BCA) is working through the ex-China Southern A380’s return to flight process with Hi Fly.
“As well as all protective devices being removed, the BCA and Hi Fly teams have refreshed all fluids on the aircraft, including hydraulics, oil, fuel and water. Additionally, every nook and cranny of the aircraft has been inspected,” assured Global Airlines.
“Global purposefully mandated BCA and Hi Fly to go above and beyond in terms of the return to service works, and this has included putting it through the same paces as a brand new aircraft. As part of this, following Airbus instructions, all aircraft systems were tested, including an almost to full thrust, on tarmac, engine run. All tests were a success and reports from the return to service process, which included interior inspections, show that the aircraft is in very good condition.”
Lithuania-headquartered refurbishment specialist JETMS is serving as Global Airlines’ cabin completions partner, whilst celebrated design house Factorydesign has already created new aircraft interior concepts for the programme.
The A380 is considered an extremely passenger-pleasing aircraft. So, whilst questions and skepticism remain about Global Airlines’ plans, there is excitement in the market about the prospect of seeing the A380 continue to make a comeback via stalwart operators such as Emirates and indeed new entrants such as Global Airlines.
Global Airlines’ McKay previously told RGN that the firm has “agreed to acquire four aircraft”. Ch-Aviation reports that the Doric-sourced A380 has been repainted into Global’s livery but remains stored at Lourdes/Tarbes.
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Featured image represents an impression of the new entrance to the main deck. Global Airlines, which has been working with Factorydesign on its interiors, provided this image.