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UK Startup Global Airlines Completes First Airbus A380 Flight in California

UK Startup Global Airlines Completes First Airbus A380 Flight in California

BY HADI AHMAD February 17, 2024 2 COMMENTS

Global Airlines has moved another step closer to launching official operations. The all-A380 UK-based startup carrier successfully conducted a test flight with its first acquired aircraft.


A Global Airlines Airbus A380 | Photo: Global Airlines


Global's Test Flight


Global Airlines' first test flight was operated by the first aircraft the startup was able to acquire. This Airbus A380 now carries the registration of 9H-GLOBL, with "9H" being the registration prefix for aircraft registered in Malta. Even though Global Airlines is a UK-registered airline, HiFly Malta operates this aircraft.




This particular airframe is 11 years old and initially flew with China Southern Airlines from 2013 to 2022 when the carrier retired all of its A380s. The test flight occurred at the Mojave Air and Space Port in Mojave, California (MHV). This airfield is known for being where airlines store aircraft following retirement. China Southern sent its A380s to MHV after their retirement.


The Global Airlines A380 taking off in California | Photo: Twitter


The test flight took off from Mojave, and the aircraft did some circuits around the airport before safely touching down back in Mojave after around 20 minutes of flight. The plane did not climb higher than 5,000 feet on its test flight. Given Global Airlines' extensive media attention and the uncertainty that the all-A380 airline would ever get off the ground, many were quick to track the test flight.




The flight, whose callsign was the aircraft's registration "9HGLOBL", was the world's most-tracked flight on Flightradar24. Global Airlines promoted the test flight on its X account, giving the exact time and callsign information so anyone could track this historic event on Flightradar24.


A screenshot of the A380's flight path | Photo: Flightradar24


Background on Global Airlines


Global Airlines is a British startup carrier aiming to primarily fly between London and the United States, specifically New York and Los Angeles. The airline hopes to commence operations in the spring of 2024. However, what makes the airline unique is that its fleet consists of only Airbus A380s. Global Airlines was the first airline to become a brand-new A380 owner in eight years. 


Today, most airlines have opted to offload their fleets of quad jets in favor of more fuel-efficient twin jets. A380 operators like Air France and China Southern have completely retired the type. Other airlines, like Lufthansa and Etihad, had plans to retire the plane permanently before partially reactivating their fleets.


Another Global Airlines Airbus A380 | Photo: Global Airlines


James Asquith, CEO and Founder of Global Airlines, has high hopes for his new airline, saying:


"Our aspiration is to be the best way to fly, and the A380, with its unmatched levels of space, comfort, and service, will be absolutely central to achieving that vision."


The airline wants to use its A380 fleet to "reinvigorate the flying experience" using the spaciousness and elevated passenger experience offered by the A380. A few months earlier, Global Airlines unveiled cabin renderings for its A380s, specifically the premium class cabins it would install on these aircraft. Global eventually plans to operate four A380-800s. The second aircraft will join the fleet soon. It will be 9H-MIP, the famous HiFly Malta A380, well-known as the world's first second-hand A380.



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Hadi Ahmad
Lifelong aviation enthusiast raised in Central Illinois. 777 is the best plane BTW.

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