It’s an interesting story for the end of the year. Our friends over at Asia.Nekkie.Com are reporting that Japanese carrier ANA will order three Airbus A380s as it seeks to expand it’s international service and place the new super jumbos on the Japan-Hawaii routes as well as other international service.
While we’re excited to see ANA go for the A380 we are a bit skeptical as they are reporting just 3 aircraft in the order, a small sub-fleet which brings on a large maintenance cost for just three aircraft. These planes aren’t cheap, the deal for the 3 aircraft is worth about ¥150 billion ($1.23 billion) at normal market price.
Interestingly, these aircraft are mentioned as being used on the Japan-Hawaii market. Why is that interesting? Well, the aircraft can be configured to more than 600 passengers per plane. Known for it’s extravagance, Emirates airlines recently configured some of their super jumbo A380 aircraft with a whopping 615 seats in a two class layout. You can seat that two-class seat map on Seatguru.com. That’s a lot of “chicken or beef?”
Currently, ANA’s largest aircraft they operate (in terms of seats) is the Boeing 777 in a two class configuration at 306 seats. While we can only speculate at the configuration of ANA’s A380, if they are to be used on the lower yielding Hawaii routes then we would most likely see them in a high density configuration similar to that of Emirates two class layout, which could more than double their capacity on any route they currently offer.
ANA has seen growth over the past decade but it’s two largest competitors, Japan Airlines and Skymark Airlines have both undergone large restructuring programs. Currently, about 1.5 million people fly between Japan and Hawaii. ANA only holds about 20% of the Japan-Hawaii market but still trailing that of 35% which Japan Airlines holds. With the larger capacity of the A380 and lower operating costs per passenger, this could be a game changer for ANA.
Here is the interesting twist: ANA’s domestic competitor Skymark Airlines had previously ordered 6 A380s in 2011. However, the airline lacked the funds to continue making payments to Airbus who then subsequently cancelled the Skymark A380 aircraft orders. Oddly enough, these aircraft may now be soon flying with ANA instead.
It would seem that American race car driver Bobby Unser was right when he once said,
“Success is where preparation and opportunity meet.”