Portuguese wet lease specialist Hi Fly signed up with Air Lease Corp. (ALC) for a medium-term lease of one Airbus A330-900, kickstarting the carrier’s fleet modernization.

The aircraft will be delivered to Hi Fly in June 2019, ALC said in an April 9 statement. The lessor did not specify for how many years the aircraft is leased. Hi Fly at present has a fleet of 15 A330s and A340s that it seeks to replace in the coming years. The carrier plans to take ten A330-900s as part of the transition. The model is still undergoing flight tests and is to enter scheduled service with TAP Portugal later this year.

Hi Fly just bought an ex-Singapore Airlines A380 that it plans to start operating from June as part of its wet lease business and has indicated that it may take more in due course.

ALC is among the largest customers of the A330neo. It has an order in place for 29 units. The program just suffered two blows after Hawaiian Airlines canceled its order in favor of the Boeing 787. Last week, American Airlines chose to cancel an existing order for A350s and not go ahead with buying A330neos.

Hi Fly will operate the first A330-900 in a 365-seat three class lay-out with business, premium economy and economy seating. The airline said it can reconfigure the cabin into a 415-seat lay-out quickly if needed.

Jens Flottau, jens.flottau@aviationweek.com