By Ian McMurtry
ANA Welcomes Final A380 to Fleet
The largest carrier in Japan — All Nippon Airways — finally took delivery of its final of three Airbus A380s that will round out its fleet operating from the archipelagic nation to the Hawaiian islands. Much like its sister planes, this A380 once again graces the skies in a turtle-themed livery with different colors differentiating the three aircraft. The final aircraft comes in Sunset Orange, making it significantly different from the earlier aircraft that appeared in ANA Blue and Emerald Green.
The jet had previously been expected to be ready for service before summer 2020, but the fallout from the Covid-19 pandemic saw the airline delay delivery by at minimum six months as it restructured, parked and reorganized its long-haul fleet. Now, over 16 months later, the final Flying Honu has made itself at home in Tokyo. ANA’s aircraft arrived at Tokyo’s Narita International Airport Oct. 16 with mascots of turtles that mirror the aircraft designs there to meet the aircraft on arrival.
— TRAICY（トライシー） (@traicycom) October 16, 2021
And in Tokyo it shall stay — the airline plans on utilizing the aircraft from its Tokyo bases at Narita and Haneda Airport to beef up its flights to Honolulu. The airline already sees heavy competition on the route, with Hawaiian Airlines and Japan Airlines putting Airbus A330s and Boeing 777s and 787 Dreamliners on the route for competition. ANA had previously relied on Boeing 787s to get the job done, with the new model increasing capacity per flight from 246 seats to 520.
The two-deck plane comes with a mix of first, business and economy class seats between the two decks. The main deck for the airline’s A380 consists of all economy seating, while premium services will move passengers to the upper level of the bi-level aircraft. Upstairs, it’s a mix, with eight first class, 56 business class seats and 73 premium economy seats giving passengers more leg room and better service than their counterparts below them.
Simultaneously, All Nippon and Airbus also announced Mixed Fleeting Flying (MFF) approval for the A380 and A320. The aircraft’s MFF requirement was approved by the Japanese Civil Aviation Bureau and marks the first time that MFF has been approved for a Japanese airline. In doing so, the approval opens the door for A320s and A380 pilots to certified for both aircraft types simultaneously.
Speaking on the success, Airbus Head of North Asia and President of Airbus Japan Stéphane Ginoux said, “We are pleased that A320 and A380 MFF operations were approved by JCAB and that ANA has become the world’s first airline to introduce it. Mixed Fleet Flying offers airlines increased flexibility and cost-efficiency and has become one of the keys to Airbus’ success. For airlines, the increase in revenue hours flown by pilots due to less standby and downtime results in a significant improvement in productivity.”