Airlines around the world are struggling to cope with the extreme reduction in travel demand brought on by COVID-19. So, it’s no surprise, then, that delivery of the final Flying Honu is delayed.
As you’ll recall, last year, ANA took delivery of two Airbus A380s for use on its Tokyo Narita to Honolulu service. The Blue and Turquoise Flying Honus have quickly become fixtures at HNL. But, two months ago, they disappeared (temporarily) from our skies as Hawaii instituted a mandatory 14-day quarantine for inbound passengers. And, now, reports are saying we’ll have to wait even longer to see the final Flying Honu in the skies above Hawaii.
Final Flying Honu is Delayed
In actuality, the final Flying Honu was supposed to be delivered to ANA last month, followed by an entry into service in July. Heck, the aircraft is fully assembled and painted. You can see it rolling out of Airbus’s Hamburg facilities back in January in this video.
However, that (obviously) didn’t happen. Instead, according to the Nikkei, ANA is further delaying the delivery of the aircraft to its next fiscal year. No revised date is available yet. But, ANA’s next fiscal year runs from October 1, 2020, through March 31, 2021.
So, even if things get better in a couple of months and the blue and turquoise Honus make their return soon, we won’t see the Orange one until sometime in Q4 2020 or Q1 2021.
It’s worth noting, though, that ANA is deferring deliveries of other aircraft too. Specifically, they’re pushing delivers for the Boeing 787 schedule for this fiscal year into the next one. The delivery of a Boeing 777-9 is also getting pushed back, though they cite Boeing as the reason for that change.
Hawaiian Seeks Deferrals Too
Though Hawaiian isn’t due to accept its first Boeing 787-9 till sometime next year, there are reports saying that they too want to defer delivery of the type. No specifics are given as the airline is, reportedly, still in talks with Boeing. But, it’s a move that isn’t good news for those hoping to see Pualani grace the skies above far away cities.
Delivery of the Final Flying Honu is Delayed, Final Thoughts
The Airbus A380 was already in trouble before the global pandemic destroyed travel demand. And, in fact, some airlines, like Air France, are no completely eliminating the type from their fleets. BUT, I expect the A380 to remain a fixture in the skies above Hawaii for some time now.
ANA’s Flying Honu are extremely new aircraft and is helping them to better compete against current market leader, JAL. What’s more, the aircraft is proving to be quite popular on the route, at least for now. The fact that people are willing to trek out to Narita when 787 and 777 flights from Haneda are already available says a lot. But, we’ll have to see how things shape up post COVID-19.