Hi Fly (5K, Beja) is planning to "eventually" obtain a third Air Operator's Certificate (AOC) after its original one in Portugal and the second one in Malta for Hi Fly Malta, Chief Executive Paulo Mirpuri said during a panel at the AIR Convention in Vilnius moderated by ch-aviation.

"Hi Fly will eventually open up a third AOC. That's our strategic plan. It will be in another English-speaking country, so it will be either in Ireland or in the United Kingdom," Mirpuri said.

He added that the ACMI/charter specialist will evaluate whether the post-Brexit UK is more or less appealing than currently. He added that setting up a British AOC could also become helpful to continue serving customers in the country after it leaves the European Union.

Hi Fly already set up Hi Fly X Ireland as a SPV during the process of acquisition of two A330-200s for Nepal Airlines (RA, Kathmandu), where the Portuguese firm acted as an intermediary. Mirpuri recently told ch-aviation that Hi Fly had no plans to convert Hi Fly X Ireland into a fully-fledged airline unit.

Mirpuri also told ch-aviation that the carrier manages its two units in Portugal and Malta as a single carrier. Setting up a subsidiary in Malta was mostly driven by the intention to "derisk".

"Three AOCs in Europe are a part of our derisking strategy. But eventually, we will have to establish AOCs in other parts of the world as well. For example, if we want to provide ACMI services to an American carrier, we will be better positioned having a US AOC," Mirpuri added.

He elaborated that non-European AOCs would be established through partnerships with local investors to comply with local control and ownership laws.