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ANA buys superjumbo Airbus A380 planes for Hawaii route

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    Airbus’ chief operating officer for customers John Leahy delivers his speech during the annual press conference in Paris today.

Airbus Group SE booked an order for three A380 superjumbo aircraft with a combined value of $1.28 billion at list prices, breaking a drought in sales of the world’s biggest passenger jet.

All Nippon Airways Co., Japan’s biggest airline, has agreed to purchase three A380s for use on Tokyo-Hawaii services, a person familiar with the plan said this month. Both the carrier and Airbus declined to comment at the time.

ANA will take delivery of its A380s from 2018, another person said this month. The order could be increased should the planes prove effective and will form just a piece of a larger strategic plan, to be unveiled at the end of January, calling for fleet renewal, they said.

The A380, which typically seats about 525 passengers, but can carry over 800 depending on the configuration, has suffered a decline in airline interest as carriers have come to favor somewhat smaller twin-aisle models, including Airbus’s A350 and Boeing’s 777.

The contract, revealed in year-end data on delivery and order tallies published Tuesday, was placed last month by a single, new customer, Airbus said. Fabrice Bregier, chief executive officer of the company’s planemaking arm, said the buyer “has asked to remain undisclosed” for now.

The new contract for Airbus’s flagship model delivers a vote of confidence in an aircraft that hadn’t won a new airline customer in three years, with the Toulouse, France-based manufacturer locked in discussions with No. 1 buyer Emirates of Dubai over whether it should upgrade the jet to extend its lifespan.

Airbus’s 2015 data also reveals that it suffered a cancellation for one existing A380 contract, leaving it with two net orders for the year, still the lowest total in at least a decade. The planemaker delivered 27 double-deckers, so that that the backlog was depleted to 140 planes in the course of 2015.

“We’re making progress in marketing the A380 to customers, but it’s an aircraft that takes time,” John Leahy, Airbus’s sales chief, said in Paris, adding that orders are not simply a matter of seat economics and that the company is working with airlines to help them with the brand-positioning of the plane.

Airbus comfortably trumped Boeing in overall orders across its model lineup, securing a net 1,036 in the year compared with 768 at its U.S. rival, where the tally slumped 46 percent, according to a statement last week. Boeing remained the world’s biggest planemaker, with 762 deliveries versus 635 at Airbus.

Bregier said on Bloomberg Television that Airbus isn’t overly concerned about China’s economy and that carriers in the country are still clamoring for aircraft, with the biggest challenge facing the company being the ramp-up of A350 wide-body production and introduction of the re-engined A320neo series.

In November at the Dubai Air Show, Airbus’s Leahy said that two potential customers were considering orders for the superjumbo.

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    • I know the 380 is larger and heaver than the C-5. If the runway can support the landing weight it shouldn’t be a problem. I know at other airports 2 A-380’s can’t taxi or land and taxi past each other because of the massive wing span. Too bad they didn’t figure folding wings when they built the plane. I know the new 777-X will have folding wings, that’s Boeing, always thinking.

    • Aircraft weight should not a problem for HNL Int as it was not for LAX. Airbus copied the 747’s weight footprint, pounds per square inch per landing gear tire to ensure airports would not have to redo their runways and taxiways for their plane.

      Issue at HNL INT are taxiway and parking size, passenger gateway capacity and possible overloading at Immigration and Customs when the plane unloads all those PAX and their baggage.

      • Localguy, Check out you tube video’s of A-380’s landing at HNL, it’s interesting they only use the inboard engines when deploying the thrust reversers. I wonder if the wings overhang the runway and the outboard engines would suck up debris. Big plane!!

  • Maybe the awesomely modern HNL can roll some ladders up when the plane reaches its gate so passengers can climb down from the plane and then go deal with the awesomely friendly & competent taxi companies

  • Will Hawaii’s tourist industry plus infra-structure handle the load capacities of these planes effectively without creating confusion amongst the arrivals. Mainly waiting time in debarking, Customs clearance, ground transportation and traffic as well as check-ins at the hotels? Airlines often ignore passenger comfort in the pursuit of revenue. Passenger care is important in selecting transportation. If experience is poor, plane selection may become more selective? Personally would not appreciate flying in a cattle-car environment shoulder-to-shoulder unable to stretch my legs as well.

  • To make an airport capable of handling the A-380 is an extensive process. The taxiways and runways need specific side clearances as well as remarking a taxiway and runway hold short signs. I doubt if the gates can accomadate them as well. Quantas brought one in due to a pax issue and the gates on both sides of the one they occupied were unusable.

    • I’ve flown on this plane, and as I recall there were at least three jetways in use simultaneously. Maybe two for the lower deck, and one for the upper (I don’t recall exactly) at LAX. The HNL terminal is not going to be able to handle this plane without some major upgrades.

    • The quick answer is, the gates cannot accommodate the 380. If ANA wants it–then here’s the bill!! But, our career politicians will take the easy way out–taxpayer money–we all vote for the D incumbents so they have no concern.

  • ANA isn’t commenting, and Airbus says the buyer does not want its identity disclosed…so basically this has less weight than a rumor. Everyone, EVERYONE knows that the A380 requires extensive reworking at airports that handle them. HNL has been in perpetual repair and renovation since…I can’t even remember…come on Star Advertiser, no news is better than false news.

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