Japan’s only A380 operator and one of the last customers of the type, ANA, has accepted its third and final superjumbo. The single A380 was marked as ‘delivered’ by Airbus despite not actually flying to its ultimate home at Tokyo Narita International Airport. Here’s what we know so far about the orange ‘flying honu’ A380.
Check Airbus’ public orders and deliveries information on its website, and you’ll see that its October 2020 spreadsheet displays one A380 delivered to ANA (All Nippon Airways) on October 30th. In a dramatic twist, how you might define delivery is, apparently, open to interpretation…
With the knowledge that this final A380 has test registration F-WWAL and Japanese registration JA383A, we checked our main sources for flight information: FlightRadar24.com and AIB Family Flights. However, both of these reliable sources of information displayed no recent flight data for the big orange A380. So what exactly is going on here?
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Physical delivery will be delayed
It seems, in this case, the aircraft is likely technically delivered – with paperwork completed and ownership transferred. But delivery, in this case, will be void of the standard delivery flight to the airline’s home base.
As we reported in late October through reporting from the Japanese language Aviation Wire, ANA won’t take its final Airbus A380 for another year. Indeed, the aircraft’s delivery had already been delayed by half a year to October.
Despite a recent customer acceptance flight, which raised hopes of an impending (physical) delivery, it looks like the aircraft’s stay in Europe will be for a while longer.
Delaying the delivery of this Airbus A380 makes sense from a practical point of view. ANA already has two Airbus A380 aircraft- and like most A380s around the world, both are now grounded due to the current situation, taking up space and resources without generating a single dollar of revenue. Therefore, it generally wouldn’t make sense to take delivery of a new aircraft only to park it straight away.
If the reports of the year-long delivery deferral are true, then it looks like the A380 will be staying somewhere in Europe. The big question is whether it will be housed at Airbus’ facilities in Toulouse, or if it will go somewhere else – perhaps a location that is purpose-built for long-term storage. Teruel in Spain and Tarbes in France are two possibilities. We’ll just have to keep an eye on JA383A to see where it will spend its winter months (and much of 2021).
What do you think will happen to this A380? Will it be stored at Airbus’ facilities in Toulouse, or will it be flown to an actual aircraft graveyard/storage site such as Tarbes in France? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.