The Nikkei Asian Review reports that ANA will buy 3 Airbus A380’s, ostensibly to boost the airline’s service to Hawaii.
This is fantastic news, as ANA will eventually join the 13 Airbus A380 operators, which could make for an interesting dynamic, as Airbus has been seeking new customers and orders of the double decker aircraft.
The part that confuses me though, is ANA’s intent to operate the A380 on the relatively short flight between Japan and Hawaii:
About 1.5 million people fly from Japan to Hawaii in a given year, filling 80-90% of seats per flight on average among all carriers. The A380 can seat more than double the passengers of ANA’s existing aircraft bound for Hawaii, which would help the airline increase its share of travelers.
I get that ANA wants to increase their capacity to Hawaii, but, doing some brief research, it isn’t clear to me that either Honolulu International Airport, or Maui’s Kahului Airport are truly ready for regular A380 service. Looking at the Hawaii Airports Modernization Plan, it doesn’t look like they have put in any A380 gates, nor is it in the plan. In 2005, the US Department of Transportation stated that Honolulu Airport had not expressed any interest in supporting A380 operations. So far as I can tell, a Qantas A380 did land in 2012, however, its not clear to me that Honolulu was properly provisioned for the aircraft. That’s further supported by this second article.
Overall, this is an interesting development, but I’m still trying to figure out whether or not we will really see A380 service to Hawaii. I would imagine that this is not an insignificant investment for Hawaii Airports, but then again, its certainly not cheap for ANA to buy the aircraft.