It seems as though progress is being made in establishing a travel bubble between Japan and Hawaii. Hawaii has been placed on a list of 12 countries and regions identified for safe travel by the Japanese Authorities. However, no date has yet been set on when such arrangements will be made.
Before the current situation, the route between Tokyo and Honolulu was packed with tourist traffic. Indeed, to show the magnitude of traffic, ANA believed it could sustain three A380 aircraft solely on that route. However, when Hawaii brought in a 14-day quarantine for all arrivals earlier this year, things ground to a sudden halt.
A travel bubble to come?
Progress is being made concerning establishing a travel bubble between Hawaii and Japan. The Japanese government has identified Hawaii as a low-risk destination, and talks between the two regarding a travel bubble are ongoing. However, a date on when travel could be approved has yet to be announced.
Stay informed: Sign up for our daily aviation news digest.
Commenting on the news, Hawaiian Governor David Ige said,
“It’s important that we restore travel between Japan and Hawai‘i and we see this program as a way to make this possible, while also preventing the further spread of infections from COVID-19. Providing safe travel for both residents and visitors is vital to strengthening our state’s economic health and long-term recovery.”
What could this mean for ANA’s Airbus A380s?
All Nippon Airways purchased its fleet of Airbus A380 aircraft to use exclusively on the route between Tokyo and Honolulu. The airline has already taken delivery of two of the model, becoming the last airline to take delivery of its first new Airbus A380. The airline has a further aircraft awaiting delivery in Hamburg.
Before the current situation, ANA was planning to use the Airbus A380 as a sort of ‘air bus’, shuttling tourists between Japan and Hawaii. The airline was planning to use all three aircraft on the route, with double daily services once the final A380 had been delivered.
The Hawaii route was huge for ANA before the current situation. However, since Hawaii implemented a 14-day quarantine, the airline’s A380s have remained in Tokyo. One would imagine that once the travel bubble between Hawaii and Japan is launched, there may be enough demand to sustain an A380’s operation.
With a relatively limited list of safe destinations and Japanese tourists who have been unable to travel for months, Hawaii could once more become a hot destination. However, the aircraft’s return will ultimately depend on demand for the route between Tokyo and Honolulu.
Have you flown on ANA’s Airbus A380? Can you see the ANA A380 returning with demand? Let us know what you think and why in the comments!