MIAMI — If you’re booked with Norwegian Air to fly between London-Gatwick (LGW) and New York (JFK) over the next few weeks, you might be the lucky passenger who, instead of flying an old, Wamos Air Boeing 747-400, will be flying a luxurious Airbus A380 with Singapore Airlines interiors.
This is part of Hi Fly’s latest addition to its wet-leasing portfolio—the ex-Singapore Airlines A380 that has joined the fleet to offer the extra capacity that airlines need to cover flights that were supposed to be flown with the troubled 787s with Rolls-Royce engines.
According to a Norwegian Air spokesman, the leasing will “most likely” last for 20 days.
The A380’s First Wet-Leasing Rounds
Hi Fly unveiled its first A380 at the Farnborough Air Show in mid-July, where, according to the airline, it “agreed to the first wet lease contract for the A380 with an undisclosed well established European Carrier.”
The first wet-leasing flights the double-decker plane operated have been within Europe for Thomas Cook Airlines.
The plane first departed from Beja to Copenhagen, then doing a few rounds between Copenhagen and Larnaca, and finally running a few flights between Oslo and Palma de Mallorca.
The average flight duration of these first wet-leasing gigs has been around 2.5-hours—an excellent chance to enjoy a long-haul plane on short leisure flights.
But later in August, Hi Fly stated that the A380 “will be flying long-haul sectors during the summer period with a possible extension.”
Those lucky passengers booked to fly Norwegian’s premium economy cabin will be surprised to be sitting in the award-winning Singapore Airlines seats, which were kept in immaculate conditions by the Portuguese wet-leasing specialist.
Norwegian’s new Boeing 787s, albeit modern and technological, only offer recliner seats in its most-comfortable section, the pointy front of the plane.
However, the Hi Fly A380 comes with full-flat beds in both First and Business Class, a tremendous upgrade as compared to the Wamos Air Boeing 747 that Norwegian has been operating on the LGW-JFK route.
Tabloids in the UK have flamed Norwegian for “code sharing” with Wamos on certain routes.
In an article titled “Wamos: the maligned airline you may soon be flying with,” The Guardian lists all the terrible things associated with the Spanish wet-leasing airline and its old 747s.
“We would like to apologize as we appreciate this change may not meet passengers’ expectations, so we’re giving passengers the option to rebook or receive a full refund free of charge if they no longer wish to travel,” said Norwegian in a statement, in reference to the Wamos 747 poor passenger experience.
But things are about to change and those bad reviews for Norwegian will certainly improve.