ANA Celebrates 5th Anniversary of A380 ‘FLYING HONU’ With Festivities

All Nippon Airways (ANA) hosted an event at Narita Airport on May 24 to celebrate the 5th anniversary of its Airbus A380 aircraft, known as ‘FLYING HONU’.

The commemorative event was centered around “Lani”, a mascot designed as the first plane (registration code: JA381A), marking its “5th birthday”. Children from the “Tanpopo” childcare room within Narita Airport sang a birthday song, and characters “Kai” and “La”, representing the second (JA382A) and third (JA383A) planes, respectively, joined the celebration with a ball-breaking ceremony and cake presentation.

On May 24, the first plane (JA381A) was scheduled for flight NH184 departing from Tokyo/Narita at 8:10 PM, with the third plane (JA383A) on flight NH182 departing at 9:30 PM.

ANA Airbus A380 at Daniel K. Inouye International Airport

ANA’s A380 planes, which fall under ANA Holdings (ANAHD), were announced on January 29, 2016, with an order for three aircraft. All three have the same cabin configuration, with 383 economy class seats on the first floor, and 8 first class, 56 business class, and 73 premium economy class seats on the second floor, totaling 520 seats. The economy class features couch seats, “ANA COUCHii”, which allow passengers to raise the leg rests of three or four adjacent seats to create a bed-like space.


The aircraft design was chosen through a public competition, depicting ‘a family of sea turtles (Honu) leisurely relaxing in Hawaii’s blue ocean’. Each plane has a unique theme color: the first plane (JA381A) boasts a Hawaii-sky blue, the second (JA382A) features an emerald green representing Hawaii’s ocean, and the third (JA383A) is in a sunset orange reflective of Hawaii’s sunset.

The first aircraft started its service on March 14, 2019, between Tokyo/Haneda and Honolulu as flight NH184, initially operating three round trips a week. The frequency increased to ten weekly flights from July 2, following the commencement of the second plane on June 18.

▲ Inside view of FLYING HONU

However, with the escalation of the COVID-19 pandemic in early 2020, operations were suspended for about a year and five months following the last Honolulu-bound flight from Tokyo/Narita on March 24. During the suspension, the planes were utilized for events such as cabin tours, in-flight restaurants, and scenic flights. According to ANA, the in-flight restaurant events attracted a total of 10,031 participants over 33 sessions, and the scenic flights witnessed 12,192 participants across 46 sessions.

The Tokyo/Narita to Honolulu route saw a temporary resumption on August 9, 2021. Following this, from July 1, 2022, the service resumed regular operations twice a week, with the daily operation system returning on April 20, 2023.

The third aircraft was received amid the pandemic on October 13, 2021, but did not start operating until two years later on October 20, 2023. With the third plane’s inclusion, the schedule expanded on December 6 to a double daily, establishing a 14 round trips a week system. The passenger count for the Honolulu route during this year’s Golden Week was approximately 1.4 times that of fiscal year 2019, marking the highest in history. As of May 11, the cumulative number of passengers reached 843,928.

Narita Airport Branch Manager of ANA, Takumi Okada, reflected on the past five years stating, “The start five years ago was very successful, with everyday being fully booked. During the pandemic, we were loved through events, reaching the final form of a double daily system in December 2013. It’s deeply moving.”

ANA Airbus A380 at Daniel K. Inouye International Airport

For the Tokyo/Narita to Honolulu route, the FLYING HONU service maintained an extremely high seat occupancy rate of 94.8% in 2019. However, post-pandemic, the rate dropped to 69.7% in 2023 and further to 53.9% as of May 11, 2024, indicating ongoing challenges. Manager Okada noted, “Regarding outbound travel, business demand has somewhat returned, but tourism is still facing tough circumstances due to the weak yen and high prices. There is a psychological barrier.” He explained, “The Honolulu route with HONU is a symbolic route for outbound travel. We aim to recover by summer.”

This article was generated using automatic translation by GPT-4 API.
The translation may not be accurate.