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 ANA was somewhat strong-armed into purchasing them, given that it was likely related to Skymark’s bankruptcy. Airbus was Skymark’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.
ANA’s first A380 is expected to enter service in spring 2019. While we don’t yet know the exact configuration, ANA has confirmed that their A380s will have between 500 and 600 seats, and will have a first class cabin. This means that the plane won’t be in a super high density configuration.
Interestingly ANA is already marketing their A380, even though they’re more than two years from taking delivery of their first one. They’ve set up a dedicated website for the plane, which suggests that ANA plans on flying their A380 to Hawaii.
It looks like ANA will be putting a special livery on their first A380, and they’re letting people submit their design ideas. The winner will get two roundtrip business class tickets between Tokyo and Honolulu, once the A380 service launches. You can submit your ideas through November 30, though check out the dedicated site for full details.
Given that I’ve flown every airline operating the A380 in first class, I’m especially excited about finally seeing another airline take delivery of the plane. It seems like ANA is committed to operating the A380 between Tokyo and Honolulu, though with three planes on order, maybe we’ll see another destination as well.
Regardless, if you’re good with design, this is a pretty cool opportunity to see your art on an A380!