(CNN) – It looks superb in the luxury of the Covid-era: a huge passenger jet with removed economy seats and an acre of legroom.
Although the temporary configuration of the Airbus A380 is associated with coronavirus, it is not a social distance.
Portuguese charter operator Hi Fly has removed most of the seats from its A380 outsole to make room for more cargo, making the world’s first A380 converted for freight.
Hi Fly tells CNN that it is using the newly redesigned A380 to transport medical and protective equipment to help fight Covid-19, and the latest destinations are Santo Domingo in the Dominican Republic, Montreal in Canada, and Tianjin and Wuhan in China.
Popular to air passengers but expensive to manage, the giant two-story ship with a maximum capacity of 853 passengers was simply “too big for current needs,” John Grant of AG Aviation Consultants told CNN Travel in March.
Hi Fly took over its Airbus A380-800 from Singapore Airlines, retaining its original interior and 471-seat configuration.
If the economic seats are removed (business and first class remain), the Hi Fly can transport cargo to all three levels of the aircraft.
The international transport of critical medical goods is crucial to support the world’s top doctors.
“Air cargo solutions have never been more important than they are now to global health services. Currently, our international teams send more flights every day to ensure that vital medical supplies protect those in need,” said Tatyana Arslanova, Air Air Headquarters. in Moscow Bridge Cargo, told CNN Travel in May.
Unlike the 747, however, there has never been a lighter version of the A380, although Airbus suddenly had plans for one.
That ship project was canceled. The A380 suffered disappointing initial sales and the design of the superjumbo – with an emphasis on volume – meant more economic sense to load relatively light passengers rather than a heavy load.
However, these unprecedented times meant that airlines were forced to be flexible and consider how best to use the vessel in their fleet.
Maybe the Hi Fly A380 won’t be the first superjumbo to get a second chance at life.
Howard Slutsken contributed to this report.