All Nippon Airways: the A380's allocation to Honolulu is strategic, not a core network decision

The largest airport outside Asia with flights to Japan is, perhaps surprisingly, none other than Honolulu. Approximately 19 flights a day in 2016 depart Honolulu for Japan, creating a nearly hourly beach shuttle. Among all global airports Honolulu is eighth largest for international flights, outpaced by airports such as Taipei and Bangkok, but Honolulu still has more Japanese flights than Singapore, Manila or Kuala Lumpur.

All Nippon Airways is proceeding with plans to deploy its forthcoming fleet of three A380s exclusively to Honolulu from 2019. Honolulu presents opportunity, but also protection. Despite all the changes to aviation and tourism over the last decade, Japanese demand to Hawaii has remained consistent. It is also strongly, almost exclusively, outbound Japanese – good for ANA since passengers will pay a premium for a Japanese airline.

Following Japan Airlines' bankruptcy and restructuring in 2010, ANA has overtaken JAL as the country's main international airline and outpaced it, except in Hawaii. Hawaii, with its leisure point-to-point demand, is not core to ANA's strategy. But ANA has a very different, non-operational reason for allocating the A380s to Hawaii.

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