Making A Splash – Excitement As ANA Launches Its Third “Flying Honu” Airbus A380

Japanese carrier All Nippon Airways (ANA) has introduced a third Flying Sea Turtle, or “Flying Honu”, Airbus A380 jet to its current Narita–Honolulu route in response to increasing demand for flights between Japan and the popular island destination of Hawai’i.

Flying Honu Airplane
The third jet in ANA’s Flying Turtle series, Ra, has taken flight © All Nippon Airways

From The Sea To The Sky – Third Flying Sea Turtle Jet Launched

After a three-year delay, the third and final jet in ANA’s Flying Honu series has finally entered service as the airline looks to ramp up the frequency and capacity of flights between Japan and Hawai’i. The news comes as the airline celebrates 25 years since services started between the two countries.

The third aircraft in the series, a cheerful, bright orange jet which was initially due to be launched in 2020 but was delayed by the COVID-19 pandemic, hit the skies for the first time on Friday during its maiden voyage from Narita, Japan, to Hawai’i’s capital city Honolulu. With the inclusion of the new jet, the airline now plans to increase the frequency of flights on its Narita–Honolulu route from 10 weekly roundtrip flights to 14 flights from December.

In addition, from Wednesday 6th December, all roundtrip flights between Narita and Honolulu will be operated by the airline’s colourful Flying Sea Turtle Airbus A380 jets. The airline hopes that by utilising its three 520-seater Airbus 380 aircraft, the largest passenger airliners in the world and the only airliners to include a full-length double-deck design, it will be able to offer greater seating capacity on its popular Narita–Honolulu route than ever before.

Passengers travelling on the route will also have the opportunity to order Flying Honu merchandise through the airline’s pre-order service, including soft toys, model planes and Hawai’i-themed teddy bears.

Flying Hono Airplane ad Merchandise
The Flying Hono series honours one of Hawai’i’s much-loved species © All Nippon Airways

Turtley Adorable – ANA’s Flying Honu Series

ANA’s Flying Honu series honours the green sea turtle, a species sadly designated as endangered by both CITES and the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). In Hawaiian culture, the green sea turtle, or honu, is a symbol of longevity, and their presence is believed to be a symbol of good luck.

The three aircraft comprising the Flying Honu series feature bright and colourful liveries with smiling turtles, each illustrating different aspects of the island state, including:

  • Lani (blue), representing the blue skies above Hawai’i;
  • Kai (emerald green), representing the clear waters surrounding the island;
  • Ra (orange), representing Hawai’i’s beautiful sunsets.
All Nippon Airways and Airbus Aircraft
A number of colourful, themed aircraft liveries can be spotted in the skies above © All Nippon Airways (top), Ronnie Macdonald (bottom left) and Julien Jeany (bottom right)

Themed Liveries From ANA And Others

ANA’s latest colourful turtle liveries are not the first time the airline has transformed its fleet and added a bit of colour to the skies. Earlier in the summer, the airline unveiled its first Pokémon-themed jet in seven years with the launch of the “Pikachu Jet NH” featuring the famous yellow mouse and a range of flying-type Pokémon. The latest jet in its Pokémon Air Adventures series, the Eevee Jet NH, featuring fan-favourite Eevee and its evolutions, completed its maiden flight from Tokyo, Japan, to London, England, just last month.

Another sea creature-inspired aircraft livery is the one featured on the Airbus A330-743L, aka the BelugaXL, a specialised wide-body cargo transport aircraft, which, as expected, is shaped like and features the smiling face of a beluga whale. The aircraft’s unusually large size and rather peculiar shape earned it the nickname Beluga, which was eventually officially adopted by the aerospace manufacturing giant.

Such is the size of the specialised aircraft that one BelugaXL jet ended up lodged in the mud at a French airport for three days in November last year after an attempted U-turn saw it overshooting the main runway and emergency crew struggling to recover the over-sized aircraft.

Would you like to fly on one of ANA’s Flying Honu planes? Have you flown on any of ANA’s other themed planes? Let us know in the comments!

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Rachel Dunster
Rachel Dunster
Aviation Reporter
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