A HiFly Malta Airbus A330-300 widebody registered 9H-HFE has landed at Ostend-Bruges Airport, which is exceptional as a passenger aircraft.
The all-white aircraft was only recently acquired by Portuguese ACMI operator HiFly and flown to Frankfurt for a retrofit into a cabin including 30 business seats and 255 economy seats
Airlines expect that many aircraft will remain on the ground for months and Ostend will become a parking space to store them in perfect condition. A joint venture between the North Sea Aviation Center and Sabena Aerospace is providing this new service at the coastal airport.
Erik Vermeersch, North Sea Aviation Center, said: “It is now clear from the COVID-19 crisis that a large number of aircraft will not be flying for a year. As a result, leases are terminated early. The owners are looking for a nice location in a favourable airport for the long-term parking of the aircraft.”
And perhaps this can also yield a welcome extra income for the airport, as the passenger flow has hardly restarted in Ostend after the lockdown.
Said the Portuguese pilot George Sleiman after leaving his parked aircraft: “All those planes that can’t fly, it’s sad. But there’s nothing we can do about that. It’ll have to rest for a while.”
Source of the quotes: Focus WTV