Japan airline ANA buying 3 Airbus planes in billion-dollar deal: Reports

Japan's All Nippon Airways will be the first Japanese carrier to own A380s.
Japan's All Nippon Airways will be the first Japanese carrier to own A380s.PHOTO: AIRBUS

TOKYO (AFP) - Japan's All Nippon Airways is buying three Airbus A380s in a billion-dollar deal, business daily Nikkei said on Friday (Jan 1), making it the first Japanese carrier to own the superjumbo jet.

The Japanese airline plans to introduce the double-decker planes on flights to Hawaii and other overseas destinations, in an effort to boost its international business.

The company paid about 150 billion yen (S$1.77 billion) for the three A380 planes, which have 500 seats, more than double the number of spots on ANA planes that currently fly to Hawaii, the business daily said.

In 2014, ANA was ahead of its rival Japan Airlines (JAL) in terms of passenger count on international flights, but JAL served more people on the Tokyo to Hawaii route - 35 per cent of all Hawaii-bound passengers compared to ANA's 20 per cent.

ANA hopes the superjumbo jet purchase will give it a leg up and allow it to increase the number of people it serves on flights to Hawaii.

About 1.5 million people travel from Japan to Hawaii ever year, according to the Hawaiian Tourism Authority.

ANA's domestic rival Skymark Airlines signed a contract with Airbus in 2011 to buy six A380 jets, but the superjumbo manufacturer cancelled the US$2.2 billion order in July 2014, apparently over concerns it would not get paid.

In October, ANA announced six-month net profits soared 51 per cent as a jump in inbound tourism boosted its international business, while falling oil prices also helped the airlines' finances.