Earlier this week, the AvGeek community here on Oahu was abuzz thanks to the appearance of an ANA A380. But don’t expect to see them again any time soon, as the flying honus temporarily returned to Honolulu for undisclosed reasons.
Despite Japan’s participation in Hawaii’s Safe Travel program, Japanese visitors remain largely absent. This is likely because Japan requires anyone entering the country to quarantine for two weeks – even if you test negative. That’s a big disincentive to hop over to Hawaii for a vacation – especially if you can’t work from home. Yet, ANA, Hawaiian, and Japan Airlines restored service between Hawaii and Japan earlier this year. Typically, ANA operates their Boeing 787s on these routes, as demand isn’t there for the larger jets. Just look at the recent arrival numbers – thus far, in August, we’ve averaged just 188 passengers per day on which flights operate. Mind you, this average is spread across three different airlines. What’s more, our peak day thus far this month saw 313 arrivals, while the lowest saw just 57.
Flying Honus Temporarily Returned to Honolulu
Despite the low number of travelers, ANA decided to send its flying Honus to Hawaii this past week – and only this past week. And it’s not like they had a surge in demand either. Hawaii News Now reports that the initial flight to Hawaii had just 180 passengers on board, well below the aircraft’s 520-passenger capacity. I’m sure cargo demand wasn’t high enough to warrant the use of the giant jets. So, what’s up? If I had to wager a guess, they did it to keep their crews current. It most definitely wasn’t to get the planes some exercise, as ANA flew them on only two roundtrip flights this past week.
What’s more, there are reports that the Honus did not use their normal, custom gates – C4 and C9. Instead, the first one pulled into G3 to offload passengers before spending the night on the South Ramp. But, I believe ANA’s Honolulu lounge remains closed, so it’s not like you can use the third, upper-deck jet bridge anyway.
Whatever the reason for the return of the Honus, it’s great to see them here again. As we all know, this aircraft type, in general, is becoming rarer. This is especially true outside of airports served by Emirates. And, it appears that many airlines don’t plan on bringing the plane back even after the pandemic finally finishes. Luckily, here in Hawaii, we should be seeing these behemoths for years to come.