The parent company of Japanese carrier All Nippon Airways (ANA) has signed a firm order for three Airbus A380s.
ANA Holdings’ agreement to order three A380s will make ANA (or another potential future ANA Group carrier) the first Japanese airline to operate the superjumbo passenger aircraft.
The Japanese company will take delivery of the A380s from 2019. ANA Group has selected Rolls-Royce Trent 900 engines to power its new A380 fleet.
“We are confident that the A380 will play an important role in the success of ANA HD’s new business strategy,” says Fabrice Brégier, Airbus president and chief executive officer. “The A380 will help ANA Group overcome capacity constraints at Tokyo’s busy airports, transporting more passengers, more efficiently and in greater comfort – all at lower cost.”
Airbus’ January 29 announcement of the order confirms ANA Holdings was the unidentified customer which committed to ordering three A380s in December.
Several months ago, reports appeared in the Japanese media that, after becoming the successful bidder for the assets of the failed Japanese carrier Skymark Airlines with the approval of Skymark’s largest creditor Airbus, ANA Group had agreed to take the three A380s which the manufacturer had completed towards Skymark’s orders for six of the superjumbos.
Those aircraft have been parked at Toulouse for many months.
Recently, aviation media and consulting firm AirInsight.com speculated that a three-aircraft A380 order doesn’t make much sense for a carrier as large ANA, which intends to operate the A380s on its routes from Tokyo to Honolulu. AirInsight thinks ANA will place further orders for A380s in the future and use them on other major routes from and within Japan.
According to the aviation trade media outlet AINonline.com, ANA Group plans over the next five years to expand its seat capacity by 50 per cent on international routes and expand the group’s fleet to 300 aircraft.
ANA Holdings’ A380 order follows orders ANA placed in 2014 and 2015 for 37 Airbus A320-family single-aisle aircraft.
The A380 carries 544 passengers in a typical four-class configuration on routes up to 8,200 nautical miles (15,200 kilometers). From Tokyo this enables non-stop service to the U.S., as well as to destinations throughout Europe.
Until recently, Qantas’ non-stop A380 flight between Dallas/Fort Worth and Sydney was the longest commercial-service sector in the world, until Emirates new Dubai-Panama City service operated by Boeing 777-200LRs claimed the title.
However, Qatar Airways is set to launch non-stop Doha-Auckland service, a route which will claim the title until Singapore Airlines resumes non-stop, 19-hour Newark-Singapore flights in 2018.
SIA will operate the Newark-Singapore service, which it used to fly with A340-500s configured in all-business-class configuration to seat just 102 passengers, with specially configured A350-900s seating just under 200 people.
Including the ANA Holdings order, Airbus has now received firm orders for a total of 319 A380s from 19 airlines worldwide. Emirates’ orders alone account for 140 of the aircraft, making it by a factor of six the largest customer for the type.
However, on January 28 Airbus announced Iran Air had committed to take 12 new A380s as part of a 118-aircraft Airbus order, which has not yet been finalized.
To date, 179 A380s have been delivered to 13 airlines. Airlines now operate A380s on more than 100 routes to 50 destinations, including routes to most of the world’s largest airports.