What to do with 20 A380’s nobody wants? Mark Lapidus of Amadeo has the answer.


What do you do when the leasing company you own signs a firm commitment for 20 A380’s and you can’t find anyone to lease them to?

That’s the situation Mark Lapidus of Dublin based Amadeo finds himself in. He’s had something of a reputation for making the right gamble at the right time and winning. This time it might no be so easy.

But in true to form fashion, a man with a reputation for success isn’t willing to let it pass by. It’s therefore time it seems, to disrupt the aviation market with a new idea.

Amadeo has 12 A380’s under management already and it’s committed to Airbus to fund 20 more. At the time of the order announcement almost everyone thought he’d lost his marbles.

So what does he intend to do? Amadeo is applying for an AOC. The idea is to be a leasing company that flies aircraft for people who don’t normally fly aircraft, but could see the value in having them flown for them.

Now at first this sounds like a straight wet lease or charter, but in essence it’s more like being a hybrid between Hi-Fly and a virtual airline.


Lapidus sees airline seats as a commodity. Offer up an empty A380 flying from Heathrow to LAX, make those tickets available to virtual airlines, or travel companies who can sell tickets for whatever they can get but pay Amadeo a fixed price for the base seat.

An option for example would be to offer 200 seats to Airbnb, they could package a home rental with a flight, Another 100 seats could be sold to an all-inclusive hotel group, anything, anyone could buy a tranche of seats and retail them as a third-party vendor.

The advantage to a customer – you get from A to B with an unbranded airline. Amadeo makes a profit from the sale of the seats in bulk to virtual airlines, travel companies, whoever, always knowing its costs are covered. Those third parties make money by charging whatever they can.

Amadeo gets to keep costs to the minimum. It sells a base seat with a food & luggage inclusion, minimal entertainment in a world of bring your own on a mobile, tablet or laptop, and its up to the third parties how they sell them. If they can’t then that’s their problem, not Amadeo’s.

Of course the consultants and the conventionalists are saying it will never work. They said the same about Freddie Laker and Virgin Atlantic, easyJet and RyanAir.  This is the 21st Century and people like Mark Lapidus just don’t take no for an answer. The airline business is often savage, self-interested parties will do anything to kill off rivals.

If you cannot solve the problem by conventional means, re-define the problem.

Now you’ve read it, I bet you’re sat there thinking what a brilliant idea! I am, even though I’d never use it, millions would, and its RyanAir and easyJet and the low-cost operators who have created an environment where travellers who don’t care about how they get there as long as they do, are an ever-growing segment of the population. It’s a millenials ideal. And it doesn’t have to be just A380’s…

I’d love to see it happen.