A380 ‘Flying turtle’ ready for takeoff

The Airbus A380 might be on the out, but Japanese airline All Nippon Airways (ANA) has just taken delivery of the first of three snazzy new editions of the superjumbo aircraft.

Come May 2019, the airline will add a “Flying Honu” to its fleet: this quirky aircraft is painted bright sky-blue and designed to resemble a sea turtle — honu’s a term used for sea turtles in Hawaii, this airplane’s destination.

This new A380 serving the route from Tokyo, Japan to Honolulu, Hawaii. Later in the year it’ll be joined by emerald green and orange turtle airplanes.

Quirky livery

The blue turtle has officially arrived, complete with friendly eyes and intricate, shell-like paintwork. ANA says it used 16 different kinds of paint to create this special livery.

The introduction of this aircraft will mark the first time that first class will be available on ANA’s Honolulu route.

The Flying Turtle is powered by Rolls-Royce Trent 900 engines and has huge capacity, accommodating 520 passengers across first class, business class, premium economy and economy.

“We are confident the A380 will be a huge success in service with All Nippon Airways, and we remain committed to supporting the airline’s A380 operation — as we will for all operators of this magnificent aircraft,” said Airbus CEO Tom Enders during the delivery ceremony at Toulouse, France.

Future of A380

With the arrival of the turtle, ANA becomes the 15th airline to operate the A380 — known not only for being big, but also quiet and extra smooth.

It’s beloved by fliers and pilots alike, but the aircraft’s never quite taken off in the way Airbus hoped — and in February 2019, the manufacturer announced that it’ll cease production of the A380 by 2021.

Still, there are currently 232 A380s in service worldwide, operating on 120 routes across the globe.

So if you’re keen to savor the A380 experience, traveling on board the flying turtle to Hawaii sounds like a pretty great way to do it.