ANA to introduce A380 for Honolulu routes

JIJI, Kyodo

All Nippon Airways Co. will introduce the Airbus A380 aircraft on its route between Narita International Airport and Honolulu in spring 2019.

The unit of ANA Holdings Inc. also said it is considering using the world’s largest passenger aircraft, with around 500 seats, on its route between Tokyo’s Haneda airport and Honolulu.

The double-decker A380 is about twice as big as the current aircraft on ANA’s Honolulu routes. Last year, the airline announced the purchase of three A380s.

ANA President and CEO Osamu Shinobe told a news conference Monday in Tokyo that introduction of the A380 is unlikely to lead to an excess supply of seats.

Shinobe said both the Narita-Honolulu route and the Haneda-Honolulu route currently have seat-occupancy rates of 90 percent. Hawaii is one of the most popular destinations for Japanese tourists.

The A380s used on the routes will be painted with a design featuring the Hawaiian green sea turtle known as “honu” in the Hawaiian language. The special edition aircraft will be called “Flying Honu,” ANA said.

In deciding the special color scheme, ANA sought input from the general public. The winning design was chosen from among 2,197 candidates.

The winner was by Chihiro Masuoka, a 51-year-old business owner from Tokyo. He said he came up with his design after imagining Ryugujo, a castle that appears in the fairy tale “Urashima Taro.” In the story, the hero Taro is carried on the back of a sea turtle to an undersea castle.

ANA said about 40 percent of the entries came from overseas.