• UK startup Global Airlines wants to fly Airbus A380s across the Atlantic but already faces delays.
  • Maintenance, livery, and interior work are ongoing in the company's first superjumbo, 9H-GLOBL.
  • The business model has raised eyebrows due to the A380's inefficiency and high costs.

UK-based startup Global Airlines, which planned to begin flying Airbus A380s between New York and London as early as summer 2024, is already delaying its launch to 2025.

A company spokesperson told FlightGlobal that its first aircraft — a double-decker registered as 9H-GLOBL — is still in need of a complete paint job, interior, and required maintenance checks.

He said the livery is being painted, and the cabin plans are "progressing," while the maintenance work is expected to start in the coming weeks and will put the airline "a step closer toward launching passenger flights next year."

"[Operations] and maintenance timelines, like for any airline, have led us to reappraise when we'll be operational," the spokesperson said. He noted that 2025 "is the target" date and that the company is "working with various partners to achieve this."

Global did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Since its launch, Global has touted a luxurious interior for its A380, which is planned to have 471 seats in economy, business, and first class.

Global has so far acquired one of the four A380s it has set out to operate but has not disclosed a price. The first is an 11-year-old superjumbo previously flown by China Southern Airways.

It had been sitting in a boneyard in the Mojave Desert from December 2022 until April 2024, when it made its way to Glasgow Prestwick Airport in Scotland for the work needed to enter commercial service.

"This was meant to be impossible, but what a super-human group of people who have a burning passion to make aviation better," Global found James Asquith said on X after the flight. The 35-year-old is famous for being the youngest person to visit every sovereign country.

Global's plan is ambitious but questionable

Asquith's ambitious plan to fly the fuel-hungry A380 across the Atlantic has raised eyebrows due to the quad-engine plane's inefficiency and high operating costs.

The pandemic accelerated the retirement of superjumbos by airlines like Air France and Thai Airways in favor of more efficient widebodies, and a lack of orders forced Airbus to end production of the A380 in 2021.

Some carriers, like Qatar Airways and Emirates, have found the A380's sweet spot on very specific high-demand routes in a strong hub-and-spoke network.

The NYC-London route is extremely competitive, with dozens of flights between the two cities daily.

Global Airlines' first Airbus A380 at Glasgow Prestwick Airport. Foto: Bob Logan/Prestwick Aviation Photography

It'll be difficult to attract enough customers to fill an A380 — especially for a new carrier when there are already plenty of established mainline and low-cost options already available.

Nevertheless, Global remains optimistic. The carrier recently announced a chauffeur service that it hopes will set it apart from the competition.

"I am hopeful that to-and-from airport transfers, along with some other exciting announcements we have coming up, will persuade even more passengers to fly with Global Airlines," Asquith said in a February press release announcing the special service.

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