Livery of the Week: ANA’s “FLYING HONU” Airbus A380s
ANA operates a fleet of three A380s between Tokyo and Honolulu, each with a distinctive turtle livery.
Editor’s Note: AirlineGeeks is excited to launch our ‘Livery of the Week’ series. Every Friday, a team member will share an airline livery, which can be from the past, present, or even a special scheme. Some airline liveries are works of art. The complexity associated with painting around critical flight components and the added weight requires outside-the-box thinking from designers. The average airliner can cost upwards of $200,000 to repaint, creating a separate aircraft repainting industry as a result.
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Among the operators of the world’s largest airliner – the Airbus A380 – All Nippon Airways (ANA) has the fewest of the type. While the Japanese airline only operates three of these aircraft, the small size of its A380 fleet has not stopped ANA from decking each of them out in a special livery.
Hawaii-Inspired Sea Turtle Designs
ANA refers to its Airbus A380-800s as “FLYING HONU,” with honu being the Hawaiian word for the green sea turtle. In Hawaiian culture, the sea turtle is thought to be a symbol of good luck, prosperity and longevity. The Hawaiian theming was chosen since the airline exclusively flies these superjumbos between Tokyo Narita International Airport and Honolulu’s Daniel K. Inouye International Airport.
Each of ANA’s A380s is painted in a colorful turtle livery. The front of each aircraft depicts a large smiling turtle, and two smaller turtles are shown swimming further back on the fuselage. Meanwhile, the tail of the aircraft has the airline’s distinctive “ANA” lettering in blue on a white background, in contrast to the carrier’s standard livery, which features white lettering on a blue tail.
The Tokyo-based carrier’s FLYING HONU A380s are each themed with a different color: blue to represent Hawaii’s blue skies, green for the crystal-clear Pacific Ocean water around the state, and orange for the island sunsets.
When the airline received its second A380, its Executive Vice President, Yutaka Ito, described the paint job as a “visually distinct livery that evokes the folklore and traditions of Hawaii.” As ANA prepared to receive the final airframe, his colleague, ANA Senior Vice President Seiichi Takahashi, stated that, “combined with design cues from Hawaiian culture, the unparalleled comfort and capacity of the FLYING HONUs will allow ANA to provide unrivaled service and efficiency on this increasingly prominent route.”
The FLYING HONU Experience
ANA received the first of its three A380s in March of 2019 with the intention of operating them exclusively between Tokyo and Honolulu. Although the COVID-19 pandemic stalled the full rollout of the airline’s A380 fleet, these plans were eventually put into practice, and the airline currently uses its A380s on its two daily roundtrips between Tokyo Narita and Honolulu.
During the pandemic, ANA kept its A380s busy. In addition to operating training and maintenance flights, the airline used them for sightseeing flights, in-cabin dining events, and even wedding ceremonies. ANA resumed scheduled A380 passenger operations in July 2022 and put its third A380 into service in October of 2023 – more than three years later than initially scheduled.
On board the FLYING HONU A380s, passengers are treated to special themed service items. Business Class passengers receive amenity kits with a FLYING HONU design and Premium Economy passengers get reusable bags bearing an image of the aircraft. Aircraft models and turtle plush toys are available for purchase. In true Japanese fashion, ANA also has mascots for each of the flying turtle superjumbos.
The airline’s A380s have a total of 520 seats in a four-class configuration, with 8 First Class, 56 Business Class, 73 Premium Economy and 383 Economy Class seats. The aircraft’s capacity supports the high-demand market between Japan and Hawaii. ANA also operates a daily Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner service between Tokyo Haneda and Honolulu.
Looking for a new airplane model? Head over to our friends at the Midwest Model Store for a wide selection of airlines and liveries.
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