Japanese carrier All Nippon Airways, better known as ANA, was somewhat late to order the Airbus A380. In fact, three years after the order was placed in 2016, Airbus announced that it would end the superjumbo program. It’s become painfully clear that COVID-19 has had an impact on ANA’s operations and its ability to use its new A380s. So what’s happening with the airline’s double-decker quadjets?
ANA’s 2016 order with Airbus was for three A380s. The aircraft were initially pegged for a 2018 delivery. However, as occasionally happens with aircraft orders and deliveries, there was a delay.
In March 2019, the first ‘Flying Honu’ with its unique livery was delivered to ANA, with its new home at Tokyo Narita International Airport. This particular aircraft was a Sky Blue.
The second A380, colored Emerald Green, was delivered to the airline in May 2019. At the time Yutaka Ito, Executive Vice President of ANA, had this to say of the exciting delivery:
“With its visually distinct livery that evokes the folklore and traditions of Hawaii, and the outstanding features of the A380, the beautiful Emerald Green FLYING HONU lives up to the ANA standard of excellence. We are ready to welcome the plane to Narita Airport so that we can begin operations.”
Both A380s were operating exclusively on the airline’s Tokyo-Narita to Honolulu route. However, this service was suspended from March 25th, with the two jets grounded. This was due to travel bans and the decline in demand due to the coronavirus. The situation has not changed since then.
If you’ve kept up to date with news on our website, you’ll know that the third A380 had a different fate than its older brothers…
Then COVID-19 happened
The third and final Airbus A380 for ANA made its maiden flight from Hamburg, Germany, in March of 2020. Painted in ‘Sunset Orange,’ the unique jet would have been delivered to ANA shortly after this maiden flight. However, COVID-19 had an effect on the airline’s plans.
With the coronavirus situation rapidly worsening throughout the month of March, it was at the very beginning of April that we found out about ANA’s plan to defer delivery of its third A380.
The original plan was actually to have the third A380 delivered in April, with commercial flights to begin in May. However, with Narita-Hawaii service suspended, there seemed to be little logic in taking delivery of a brand new, yet unusable, jet.
Commenting on the outbreak, an ANA executive is quoted as saying, “The Japanese airline industry as a whole could lose about 2 trillion yen ($18.6 billion) in revenue.”
With nearly all airlines moving into ‘cost-savings’ and ‘cash-preservation’ modes, it seemed to make the most sense for ANA to defer the delivery of its aircraft. The delivery would be deferred for six months. With September being the sixth month from April, we’ll have to just wait and see if ANA further delays delivery, or takes possession of the orange jet at the start of October.
Where is the third A380?
So, where exactly is this jet? Registered as F-WWAL (for now, until officially delivered), this third A380 appears to be at Airbus’ facilities in Toulouse, France. Data from AIB Family Flights shows that the aircraft took its seventh flight on June 25th, with a note that the plane made a “low pass over Aix-en-Provence.”
The aircraft had two engine runs and taxi checks this month. The first was on July 1st, and another was done on July 15th.
Do you think we’ll see ANA take delivery of this jet in October? Or will it postpone yet again? We’d love to know your thoughts in the comments!