Venezuela received for the first time on Sunday the flight of an Airbus A380. The aircraft of the Portuguese group HiFly was leased for 15 days by the Venezuelan airline Aerolíneas Estelar Latinoamérica, replacing another airplane of the European company, an A340-300, that undergoes maintenance. The double-deck aircraft will be based at Simón Bolívar International Airport, about 40 km from Caracas, making flights to Madrid, Rome and Buenos Aires.
The A380 in the service of Aerolíneas Estelar is also expected at Ezeiza Airport in Buenos Aires, where it will land on the 17th July. This will also be the first that the world’s largest passenger plane operates commercial flights in Argentina, which already received the aircraft on two occasions in 2007 and 2012, but in these cases were demonstration aircraft that were presented to Aerolineas Argentinas, which considered incorporating the aircraft into long-range flights.
To take advantage of the passage of the A380 by Venezuela, Aerolíneas Estelar launched a promotion of flights to Europe and Argentina. The chance to sell all the seats on the plane, however, is remote. Venezuelan commercial aviation, influenced by the country’s tough economic crisis, goes from bad to worse: between 2013 and 2019, the sector’s movement has fallen by 75%.
HiFly is a company specializing in wet lease, a kind of temporary lease of aircraft to other airlines. The service offered by the Portuguese group also includes certified crew members, airplane maintenance and insurance.
The company from Portugal is the 14th customer of the A380, as well as being the only one in the world to offer the temporary lease of the four-engine Airbus. The aircraft operated by HiFly is little more than 10 years old and used to fly with the livery of Singapore Airlines.
The A380 operated by HiFly since last year maintained the same cabin configuration that was used by Singapore, with 471 seats in economy classes (399 seats), executive (60) and first class (12).