ANA Finally Sends Its Airbus A380 Back To Hawaii

Japan’s All Nippon Airways has resumed scheduled commercial flights with its Airbus A380 fleet, albeit on a limited basis. The airline completed the first of two rotations to Honolulu with the giant of the skies earlier today.

ANA, Airbus A380, Honolulu
ANA’s Airbus A380s have returned to commercial service, albeit for two rotations. Photo: Airbus via ANA

The Airbus A380 is loved by passengers the world over. Unfortunately, it isn’t loved by airlines the world over. Only a handful of airlines are currently flying the colossal aircraft, while many more have said that the double-decked quadjet has no place in their fleets moving forward. Fortunately for its relatively young aircraft, ANA is sticking with the A380 for the time being.

Across the Pacific Ocean

Today one of ANA’s Airbus A380s saw its longest flight in well over a year. The airline flew its first A380, JA381A, to Honolulu in Hawaii and back, marking its first scheduled commercial service with the type since borders slammed shut in late March 2020.

The flight got underway yesterday evening, with NH184 departing Tokyo’s Narita Airport (NRT) at 20:12, according to data from RadarBox.com. Immediately after departure, the aircraft headed out over the Pacific Ocean, covering 6,138 km (3,814 miles) in seven and a half hours. The plane arrived in Honolulu at 08:40 in the morning yesterday, with time travel made possible by the international dateline.

ANA, Airbus A380, Honolulu
The flight out to Hawaii took around seven and a half hours. Photo: RadarBox.com

A delayed return

Unlike the tourists onboard, the Airbus A380 didn’t stay in Honolulu for long. After a little under four hours on the ground and almost an hour behind schedule, flight NH813 departed the airport at 12:23. The plane touched back down in Tokyo at 14:42.

The aircraft is set to return to Honolulu next week on August 13th. After this, the aircraft is scheduled to return to a series of staycation flights, alongside flights to nowhere.

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JA381A was delivered to ANA during an elaborate ceremony in Toulouse back in March 2019. According to ch-aviation.com, the plane first flew in September 2018, making it 2.9 years old. The aircraft is listed with a current market value of $78.39 million. As of March 31st, it had clocked just 3,156 flight hours across 522 flight cycles.

Why Hawaii?

From delivery day, ANA has always had just one mission in mind for the giant of the skies: Shuttling tourists back and forth between Tokyo and Honolulu. Everything from the onboard service to the aircraft’s livery and even a gate in Hawaii are themed around the idea.

ANA, Airbus A380, Honolulu
The airline used its first of three A380s for this rotation. Photo: Airbus via ANA

Before the Airbus A380’s delivery, ANA held just 15% of the capacity available between Japan and Hawaii. Following the delivery of its third aircraft, it had hoped to up this to 25%. It’s unclear how the pandemic will affect this plan moving forwards, though the A380 looks set to stay at ANA for the foreseeable future given its young age.

The airline was looking to dominate the Japan to Hawaii market with the type, planning multiple rotations on the route each day. The airline had taken delivery of two out of three A380s destined for the route by the time COVID-19 struck last year. As such, it ended up deferring the delivery of its last A380, JA383A. This aircraft has since been delivered to the airline on paper but remains in the care of Airbus, flying between Hamburg and Toulouse occasionally.

Are you excited to see ANA’s A380s returning to passenger service? Let us know what you think and why in the comments down below!

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