After Japan’s All Nippon Airways (ANA) announced it will fly five weekly flights to Honolulu, Hawaii, could this mark the official introduction of the sunset orange Airbus A380, one of three ‘Flying Honus’ owned by the airline?
The carrier made the announcement on Twitter, indicating that sufficient demand has returned for ANA to now schedule five weekly flights between Tokyo, Japan, and Honolulu International Airport (HNL), Hawaii. The Japanese airline’s A380s fly from Narita International Airport (NRT) to HNL, while other aircraft are scheduled to fly between Haneda International Airport (HND) and HNL daily.
The NRT to HNL route is exclusively reserved for the double-decker aircraft, according to the airline’s website. It currently owns three of the type, with two showcased as active, while the third – bearing the sunset orange livery – is showcased as parked, according to planespotters.net data. ANA took delivery of the bright orange Airbus A380 aircraft in October 2021. Previously, prior to the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Japanese carrier indicated it would have operated all three A380s from July 1, 2020.
However, the pandemic derailed plans to launch the flights with the third aircraft, as it was scheduled to arrive in early 2020.
Much like the other two, the third Airbus A380 was scheduled to fly exclusively between Tokyo and Honolulu, responding to the huge demand for itineraries from Japan to Hawaii. According to data from the Hawaii Tourism Authority (HTA), in 2019, 12.6% of the islands’ total visitors came from the Asian country. Apart from domestic US West and US East travelers, Japan was the largest market for travel to Hawaii.
As such, ANA decided to order the Airbus A380 in 2016, becoming the first airline in Japan to do so.
Still, even if the sunset orange-bearing aircraft was present in ANA’s fleet, it had not flown commercially since its delivery in October 2021. Per aibfamily.flights, a website that tracks Airbus’ aircraft flight activity, the aircraft, registered as JA383A, flew once in September 2022. It was seen operating a test flight from and to NRT.
The airline, despite the flight schedule increase, indicated that the “inauguration of the sunset orange A380 aircraft has been postponed”.
“A new scheduled inauguration date will be announced once the situation has improved,” the ANA’s website further indicated.
The Japanese carrier returned to Hawaii in May 2022 with a single Airbus A380 Flying Honu, adding another one to its operations since. The two A380s have been flying to and from Hawaii interchangeably, flightradar24.com data showcases.