All Nippon Airways (ANA), the largest airline in Japan and a five star carrier too, have revealed the details of their Tokyo to Honolulu flights start date and facilities. Launching from 24th May 2019, this will be the first service provided by its A380 and, ANA say, is designed to be a ‘once in a lifetime’ experience.
ANA’s first A380 rolled off the assembly line in Toulouse in August, decked out in the green livery of ‘Kai’ meaning ocean. They are also receiving a blue liveried A380 known as ‘Lani’ meaning sky, and an orange one known as ‘La’ meaning sunset.
Although ANA are almost certainly excited about the arrival of the A380, their order wasn’t exactly a proactive action. At the time, Skymark had gone bankrupt and ANA wanted their slots at Haneda. But, in order to secure the slots, they were forced to take on Skymarks outstanding order from Airbus.
What can we expect from the ANA A380?
The A380 will replace the three Boeing 787s currently used on the Tokyo to Honolulu route. As Japan’s only super jumbo aircraft, there’s a lot riding on the shoulders of ANA to make it an experience and a half. With twice the seating capacity of the 787s currently running this route, ANA had plenty of space to play with.
We know that ANAs A380 will feature a three class configuration, sporting a total of 520 seats across the two decks. These will be made up of:
- 8 first class seats
- 56 business class seats
- 73 premium economy seats
- 383 economy seats
In economy, we can expect a 3-4-3 configuration. The standard seats have a 34 inch pitch, as well as a 6 way adjustable headrest.
60 of these seats use a new seat design known as a Couchii. These have marginally less leg room at 32 inches but have a movable extra bit that transforms the seats into a couch.
For premium economy, the 73 seats will be in a 2-3-2 configuration at the back of the upper deck. These seats have a generous 38 inch pitch and leg and foot rests, as well as a 6 way adjustable headrest.
In business class, the 56 seats will be in a staggered 1-2-1 configuration on the upper deck. All seats are lie flat with direct aisle access and have an 18 inch touch panel LCD.
And finally, the first class offering at the front of the upper deck will be in a 1-2-1 layout using a revised suite style booth with movable partitions between each neighbour. They come with a 32 inch touch controlled LCD IFE screen, a large table and a closet for jackets.
You can enjoy a tour of the ANA A380 here, including a reveal of the ‘rainbow lighting’ in the roof of the cabin:
In terms of amenities, passengers in first class will be able to choose from an assortment of dishes prepared at the five star Four Seasons Resort Oahu at Ko Olina, overseen by Michelin starred head chef Ryo Takatsuka.
Economy flyers will enjoy a collaborative menu from Australian casual dining company Bills. Premium economy will get a superior menu, with choices from both Japanese and International cuisines.
All passengers have access to a snack and drink bar throughout the flight and will be served complementary Blue Hawaii cocktails in celebration of the new aircraft.
Aviation’s love-hate relationship with the A380
The megalithic A380 is the world’s largest passenger airliner. With two decks, four engines and up to 853 people (in an all economy class arrangement) it’s a heck of a beast. While it’s kind of cool to fly on such a massive aircraft, and to be an operator of it, the majority of carriers just don’t feel the love for the giant jumbo.
Orders for the A380 stand at 331 as of May this year, but it’s not exactly a popular aircraft. Qantas planned to order eight of the jets, but with their current efficiency drive its looking unlikely. Virgin Atlantic ordered six back in 2001, but never took delivery and subsequently cancelled their order this year.
By far the biggest operator of the A380 is Emirates, with a current fleet of 105 and a further 57 on order. Singapore, British Airways and Air France own a handful each, although Air France has recently revealed they will be reducing their fleet of A380s by up to 50%.
Despite rumours of more orders in the pipeline, airlines are just not going for the A380. Airbus have been struggling to shift the model for some time and have reduced production from 12 aircraft a year to just six.
The lack of love for the A380 is down to it’s lack of fuel efficiency, and difficulty in filling all those seats. In a time when jet fuel prices are soaring, more efficient aircraft like the Dreamliner and the A350 are far more appealing to carriers.