After several years of no new orders for the A380, Airbus finally got some life back into the program when they ended last year with an announcement that All Nippon Airways will be purchasing three A380 aircraft.
I suspect they were somewhat strong-armed into purchasing them, given that it was likely related to Skymark’s bankruptcy. Airbus was the airline’s second biggest creditor, and ANA really wanted some more Tokyo Haneda slots, so some A380 orders may have very well been the deciding factor in them getting Skymark’s slots.
ANA placed orders for just three A380s, making their A380 fleet the smallest of any airline operating the airplane. Of course not every airline will/can afford to order 100+ A380s like Emirates, though you’d think there are some economies of scale involved here, where the cost per frame goes down significantly when you have more, especially in terms of operating/maintenance costs.
Interestingly ANA plans to use the A380s primarily for flights to Hawaii, which was a bit of a surprising move — this would make them the first airline to operate the whale jet to Hawaii. My assumption, as a result, was that they’d configure their A380s in a super high density configuration, given that Hawaii is a leisure market. Emirates just recently introduced 615 seat, two cabin A380s, so I figured ANA would cram even more seats in their planes.
Well, it appears as if that’s not the case. Via Aviation Wire (and Google Translate):
- ANA plans to commence A380 service in spring 2019
- ANA’s A380s will feature between 500 and 600 seats
- ANA’s A380s will feature a first class cabin
I’m very excited to hear that ANA will have a first class cabin on their A380s. ANA has one of my all around favorite first class products, so I’m sure it will be at least as good on their A380.
ANA first class on the 777-300ER
ANA first class on the 777-300ER
Besides, I’ve had the opportunity to review every A380 first class product out there, including Air France, Asiana, British Airways, China Southern, Emirates, Etihad Airways, Korean Air, Lufthansa, Malaysia Airlines, Qantas, Qatar Airways, Singapore Airlines, and Thai Airways, so I’m excited at the prospect of adding another airline to the list.
The good news is that it sounds like ANA isn’t going for a super high density configuration on the A380. As a result, I wouldn’t be surprised if they also fly one of these A380s to somewhere in the mainland US, like New York or Los Angeles. Regardless, I’m happy to hear they’ll have a first class product.
In a few years Honolulu will see regular A380 action!
Between this and the recent news of Iran Air ordering A380s, there’s finally some new life for the whale jet!
Are you excited to fly ANA’s A380s, when they go into service in a few years?
As I recall the first flight arrived on the morning of December 7th the previous year. The most interesting thing about that flight is that is must have originated on December 8th, given the location of the International Date Line. Nothing else interesting about it at all.
Haven't the AF people completely renovated their A380 F class since you last flew it, Lucky? Can you still really claim to have flown every available A380 F class?
@Prudens C.Yes I believe the Japanese initially started a route to Hawaii in 1942 but was quickly discontinued due to technical issues.
I have to wait until 2019 for this?
Are the skymark A380's future orders? When will ANA get them?
What is not clear to me, is that there are three A380 frames already built in Toulouse, for skymark. Anyone know why ANA isn't getting them more or less immediately?
Perhaps these are the Transaero A380s ;)
JAL F/J over ANA F/J any day. But oddly, ANA Y over almost any other carrier besides Air NZ.
actually, come to think of it, I was served caviar on 4/6 flights...not sure why the inconsistency.
@Pavlov - sorry mate. I know you cringe when I call the stuff that airlines serve "caviar."
Personally I think JAL first is much better than ANA. They do give you caviar, and have Salon 2004 (use to be 2002) champagne. Not cheap stuff at all.
Also very nice amenity kits and the most comfortable pajamas.
For some reason though ANA still has 5 stars from Skytrax..... JAL needs those 5 stars also.
Really? I thought ANA offers a good service. The suite isn't quite as warm in terms of the finishing as other suites, but it's still comfortable and private. The food is pretty good by airline standards, and I like the service. It's a nice mix of Singapore and Cathy styles; they're not patrolling the aisles every 3 minutes but they also don't wait in the galley until someone hits the call button.
No caviar in ANA First :(
I've found ANA First to be very much mediocre. Like Jared said, the Kaiseki is so-so, the seat looks and feels like a cubicle, and the service is not as good as Cathay or Singapore.
Well - it's functional is how I describe it based on my flights on ANA's First, which works for them since I have usually only observed business-oriented folks in the cabin with me. Food's not bad (the Kaiseki meal is so-so, but rather just save space for my favorite joints to dine), but I avoid airline food in general so have sampled very little of the actual food. So, functional but not necessarily spectacular or memorable, which is fine.
looks bland like an office cubicle...
@Tom: Japanese people love Hawaii. (I don't really get the reason but they do.) It is kinda embedded in the Japanese culture. Also note that there are high Japanese populations in Hawaii as well. It is very reasonable that ANA flies their A380 to Hawaii. There is a strong demand, indeed.
@Tom, why is Hawaii unrealistic? They have a few frequencies over there during peak season, the A380 seems a more than adequate plane for that market, considering the slot restrictions in Japan.
Hawaii sounds really unrealistic.
I'd bet they will eventually fly the A380s to to other destinations, if they actually do end up operating A380s long term.
I'm guessing no bar or showers?