Skymark Airlines, Japan’s third-largest airline and the country's fastest-growing carrier, has firmed into an order the memorandum of understanding it signed with Airbus in...

Skymark Airlines, Japan’s third-largest airline and the country’s fastest-growing carrier, has firmed into an order the memorandum of understanding it signed with Airbus in November 2010 for four A380 super-jumbos.

The purchase contract was signed on February 17 in a ceremony held at Airbus’ headquarters in Toulouse, France, in the presence of Skymark Airlines President, Shinichi Nishikubo; Airbus President and CEO, Tom Enders; and Airbus Chief Operating Officer Customers, John Leahy, together with Airbus Japan CEO, Stephane Ginoux.

“We believe that the A380, the world’s most cost-efficient, modern and environmentally friendly aircraft with cutting-edge technologies, will provide us with a strong competitive advantage and safe operation,” Nishikubo said  at the signing ceremony. “We will become the very first Japanese airline to offer our passengers a unique and new experience of flying – more space, more comfort and a quieter cabin. With the four-engined A380, we are free from ETOPS constraints and can provide flexible operations.”

Skymark Airlines will operate the Airbus A380 on major international long-haul routes from Tokyo.

Fast-growing low-cost carrier Skymark Airlines is the first Japanese airline to commit to purchase the Airbus A380 super-jumbo, in signing a memorandum of understanding for four A380s in November 2010

“We are pleased to welcome Skymark as our newest and first Japanese A380 customer,” said Tom Enders, Airbus President and CEO.  “The A380 is the most eco-efficient solution to allow Japan’s air traffic to grow in a capacity constrained environment.”

More than 10 million passengers have already flown on Airbus A380s. The in-service fleet has accumulated almost 250,000 revenue flight hours in nearly 28,000 commercial flights. Today, the big new flagship serves 20 major airports worldwide.

Japan is already seeing plenty of A380 service: Singapore Airlines, Lufthansa, and Air France operate the aircraft on daily services to Tokyo Narita Airport. Starting from March 27, Singapore Airlines will extend its A380 operation from Narita to Los Angeles, while Korean Air’s first A380 service to Narita is scheduled for June 1.

Other Asia-Pacific carriers which have ordered the A380 are Asiana Airlines, China Southern, Korea Airlines, Malaysia Airlines, Qantas Airways, Singapore Airlines and Thai Airways.

Total firm orders for the A380 now stand at 244 aircraft from 19 customers worldwide and 43 aircraft have been delivered to five customers.