ANA Expands A380 Flights To Nowhere To Airports Outside Tokyo

Japan’s All Nippon Airways is expanding its program of Airbus A380 flights to nowhere. While previously the flights had only been operated from Tokyo’s Narita Airport, they will begin departing from Kansai and Chubu from mid-April.

ANA, 2021 Sunrise, Airbus A380
ANA is expanding its program of flights to nowhere. Photo: Getty Images

While flights to nowhere are nothing new, they’ve gained a new lease of life as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. With some borders closed or heavily restricted, such flights have allowed keen individuals to fly away without leaving the country or even the city. However, local restrictions have caused some hiccups to such flights, such as China Airlines’ Boeing 747-400 farewell that was delayed due to a local COVID-19 outbreak.

Stay informed: Sign up for our daily and weekly aviation news digests!

Branching out from Tokyo

Since August, Japanese carrier All Nippon Airways has been operating flights to nowhere with its Airbus A380. Due to huge demand, the airline has been increasing the number of flights operating out of Tokyo. However, now the A380 will be branching further afield with April’s schedule.

According to the airline’s website, it will operate five flights to nowhere in April, to the following schedule,

  • Tokyo Narita – April 11th
  • Kansai International Airport – April 17th & 18th
  • Chubu International Airport – April 24th and 25th
ANA’s A380s spent much of 2020 grounded. Photo: Getty Images

Each of the sightseeing flights is due to last three hours and 30 minutes. Simple Flying has previously reported on the perks and prices attached to the trip. However, ANA has put the prices up for Kansai and Chubu’s flights by ¥10,000 ($92.11). This is perhaps to compensate for the additional cost involved in positioning the A380. They are as follows,

TypeTokyo (¥)Kansai/Chubu (¥)Tokyo ($)Kansai/Chubu ($)
First class102,000112,0009401030
Business class (window)63,00073,000580670
Business class (aisle)58,00068,000535625
Premium economy (window)44,00054,000405495
Premium economy (aisle)39,00049,000360450
Economy (window)39,00049,000360450
Economy (window above the wing)37,00047,000340430
Economy (aisle)34,00044,000315405

A benefit to the airline and passengers

It’s clear to see that the flights are a welcome addition by the airline’s passengers. Indeed, ANA has to operate a lottery to distribute its A380 flight to nowhere tickets, with many left disappointed each time. However, the airline also benefits from operating these flights.

The most obvious way the airline benefits is by the income generated by the flights to nowhere. After all, a plane not flying is a plane not making money. However, there is an additional benefit to the airline.

Airbus, A380 Deliveries, 2020
The airline is yet to take physical delivery of its last A380. Photo: Airbus

Recently we’ve seen Ryanair operating a whole host of ‘ghost flights’ to nowhere. The European LCC has been using such flights to keep its fleet in a state of operational readiness. This is preferred by some airlines to long-term storage. By flying the Airbus A380, ANA can ensure that its aircraft fly every 90 days, thus not requiring long-term storage.

While they’re at it, the revenue is a bonus. Finally, such flights allow the airline’s flight crew to remain current on their takeoffs and landings, rather than requiring separate recurrent training.

Would you like to be on one of ANA’s flights to nowhere? Let us know what you think and why in the comments!