All Nippon Airways (ANA) will place an order for three Airbus A380s, making it the first commercial carrier in over four years to become a new customer of the superjumbo.
As reported in the Nikkei, the deal will be worth around ¥150 billion (US$1.23 billion) based on current market prices, with the aircraft due to be introduced in 2018.
ANA has indicated the A380 will first be deployed on flights to Hawaii.
The Japanese airline’s decision to purchase the A380 is somewhat of a surprise, given that sales for the four-engine jet have dried up recently and led to uncertainty over the aircraft’s future.
The development of the A380 was based on studies that air travel is expected to grow exponentially over the coming years, generating demand for large, high-capacity aircraft.
However, smaller, fuel-efficient planes such as Airbus’s own A350 and the Boeing 787 have proven popular with operators instead, allowing them to offer higher frequencies and better yields.
The “ultra-large” aircraft segment has therefore struggled to win over customers. Boeing for instance only won two firm orders for its B747-8 jumbo jet last year, reported Reuters.
The A380 remains a world-class aircraft and is still considered by many to be about 10 years ahead of its time. Emirates continues to showcase the superjumbo as its flagship aircraft, while Airbus has attempted to beef up the A380’s profitability by squeezing in more seats.
For more information, visit ana.co.jp