Global Airlines has enlisted Hi Fly (5K, Beja), so far the only airline to have ever operated a second-hand A380-800, to assist in the British start-up's launch with the quadjet type.

"The great news for us is that the team at Hi Fly know the A380 inside-out and will be invaluable in helping us with their industry knowledge around the maintenance and technical acceptance required for our first aircraft - all crucial steps before work begins on introducing our new interiors and other vital elements of the Global service and passenger proposition," chief executive James Asquith said.

Hi Fly Malta, the Maltese AOC of the Portuguese ACMI/charter specialist, leased its only A380, 9H-MIP (msn 6), from Doric Asset Finance in 2018. The aircraft was previously retired by Singapore Airlines and remains the only A380 to ever successfully trade on the second-hand market. The carrier harboured plans to add more A380s, but these ambitions were cut short by the Covid-19 pandemic when demand for the niche superjumbo plummeted.

Hi Fly retired its A380 in late 2020. Global Airlines acquired the same unit - which is currently in storage at Lourdes/Tarbes - earlier this year. It has since said it had bought three more A380s, although their identity is unknown.

Global pledged that its first A380 would "fly to Europe" in the coming months and will eventually be registered in Malta as 9H-GLOBL.

Global Airlines plans to launch in 2024, operating premium transatlantic routes. The first services will connect London with New York and Los Angeles International, although the airline has yet to secure slots at any British airports. It has yet to apply for a UK Air Operator's Certificate or Operating Licence. International corporate affairs chief Liam McKay told ch-aviation that details of the AOC will "follow in due course" when asked if the start-up was planning to launch as a virtual airline using Hi Fly's AOC.