ANA Airbus A380 Conducts New Year Sunrise Flight

ANA conducted its 20th “Hatsuhinode Flight” or “First Sunrise Flight” to celebrate the start of the new year. The airline operated two flights to mark the occasion, including one with its Airbus A380 Flying Honu. The two-hour flight gives passengers the chance to enjoy the beautiful views over Mt. Fuji and enjoy the luxuries of flying once again.

ANA used its mostly-parked A380 for the first time on this annual flight. Photo: Getty Images

First of the year

Since 2001, ANA has been operating a special flight for people to celebrate the year’s first sunrise (Hatsuhinode)The flight this year departed from Tokyo Narita, instead of the usual Haneda, and was operated by ANA’s A380.

The flight, NH 2030, took off from Tokyo Narita Airport at 06:25 AM local time. According to Aviation Wire, passengers began arriving at 03:15 AM in anticipation of the flight. The two-hour-long flight took a circular path and made several loops around Mount Fuji just as the sun rose.

ANA A380 2021 First Sunrise Flight
Passengers were treated to the view of Mount Fuji just as the sun rose for the first time in 2021. Data and Map:

After 25 minutes over Fuji, the flight went south towards Nagoya City and Shizuoka Prefecture before flying over the Pacific Ocean. After just over two hours in the sky, the aircraft landed at Tokyo Narita at 08:31 AM local time.

The experience

ANA’s A380 can seat up to 520 passengers at full capacity, with eight seats in first, 56 in business, 73 in premium economy, and 383 in economy class. Usually, this aircraft is deployed on the high-traffic Tokyo-Honolulu route. However, low traffic means only one of three A380s are in action and only flying ‘flights to nowhere‘.

For the New Year’s flight, there were 226 passengers on the aircraft, according to AviationWire. First class went full, while business class had 37, premium economy 52, and economy had 129 passengers. This likely ensured adequate social distancing onboard the flight. Tickets were priced between ¥40,000 ($387) for a non-window economy seat to  ¥125,000 ($1,200) for a first class seat.

Mount Fuji Sunrise New Year
Passengers had the chance to enjoy views like this to start the new year. Photo: Getty Images

Onboard, passengers received goodies like a soft toy turtle ANA A380, sweet treats, and a commemorative certificate of the flight. Passengers also got special new year meals (osechi-style) across classes during the journey. This certainly is a unique way to start the new year, especially after a year on the ground for most!

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Flights to nowhere

Japan is usually the third-busiest domestic market globally and a massive international hub for passengers. However, with many flights still suspended, Japanese carriers have quickly jumped on the ‘flight to nowhere’ trend. ANA has operated three A380 flights to nowhere, while others like Qantas and Starlux have seen great excitement too.

Airbus A380, All Nippon Airways, Delivery
The ANA A380 has been busy flying flights to nowhere in its downtime from usual service. Photo: Airbus

ANA took delivery of its third and final Flying Honu in November, after months of delays. Despite delivery, the plane remains parked at Toulouse and will likely stay there until ANA feels the need to bring the plane into service. Hopefully, we’ll see the A380s back on the Hawaii-Tokyo route very soon!

What are your thoughts about this flight? Let us know what you think in the comment section.