- European startup carrier Global Airlines has purchased its first plane — the Airbus A380 superjumbo.
- The carrier plans to equip the plane with “approximately” 471 seats and fly between the US and UK.
- The plan differs from many other carriers that have been actively retiring the A380 due to high costs.
A little-known startup carrier called Global Airlines has bought its first plane — the mammoth Airbus A380.
The carrier announced the purchase on Monday, revealing the jet was acquired from German investment firm Doric Aviation. According to Doric, it has 14 A380s in its roster — 13 of which are flying with Emirates and one that is currently being remarketed, meaning it is going to a new operator.
“Contrary to popular belief, the A380 is widely recognised as the best way to fly, offering unparalleled comfort and features that lead to a unique travel experience,” the firm said.
While it is more common for new carriers to lease jets at the start of business, Global noted that this was a full purchase.
“Acquiring our aircraft rather than leasing showcases our commitment to financial security and resilience from day one,” Global Airlines CEO and founder James Asquith said in a press release.
Asquith is known as the youngest person to ever travel to every sovereign country on the planet and runs the house-swap platform Holiday Swap.
With Holiday Swap as the parent company, Asquith’s aviation venture started in July 2021 and has earned “significant backing from investors.”
His plan is to acquire three more A380s “in the coming months” and fly them between the UK and the US starting next spring. The airline has also talked about introducing a “gamer cabin” onboard, but it is not clear if that will ever come to fruition.
While the purchase price for the jet — which will be fit with approximately 471 seats across economy, business, and first class — has not been disclosed, Global said it is “understood to be in the eight-figure range.”
“The purchase of our first aircraft demonstrates that we are well on the way to launching Global,” Asquith said. “The next step is to overhaul and refit the aircraft to our high specification, providing our customers with the best experience in the sky today.”
The idea of used the double-decker plane over more efficient jets like the Boeing 787 is because Global believes the A380 is “the world’s most comfortable aircraft” and will be the best option for passengers on long-haul flights.
“Combining the most advanced aviation technology and an inspired cabin design, it is celebrated for its outstanding quality in every aspect,” the company said on its website. “Leading the industry in standards for innovation, experience and efficiency, it is adored by passengers, pilots and crew alike.”
However, this is not the same sentiment many other carriers have had over the years, especially during the pandemic.
With the plane’s four engines and immense size, carriers like Air France, Thai Airways, and Malaysia Airways have retired the jet due to its high operating costs.
Production of the jet also ended in 2021 due to the lower-than-expected order rate, with Emirates being the only carrier to truly invest in the plane with over 120 purchased. A few other carriers like Singapore Airlines and Lufthansa have also continued flying the A380 post-pandemic.
“In the end, you have to face facts, and we could see that we were building A380s faster than people were ordering them,” Airbus head of business analysis and market forecast Bob Lange said in 2019.