“Flying sea turtle” Airbus A380’s first sightseeing flight to Hokkaido
All Nippon Airways Co., Ltd.’s Airbus A380 (520 seats), the world’s largest double-decker passenger aircraft took-off and landed at New Chitose Airport for the first time on September 19, during a sightseeing flight. The livery of the aircraft, which is approx. 73 m long and 80 m wide, is designed in the image of a sea turtle, and is known fondly as ‘Flying Honu’ (flying sea turtle). Approximately 370 passengers enjoyed the one-and-a-half-hour flight over Hokkaido, while many aircraft enthusiasts gathered at the airport to see it.
The A380 is used on the Narita-Honolulu route, but the number of flights has decreased due to the spread of COVID-19 infections, and the time the aircraft spends on the ground has been prolonged. Sightseeing flights from Narita Airport have taken place with the aim of making effective use of equipment, but this is the first time the plane has operated in Hokkaido. Fees ranged from below 20,000 yen to 70,000 yen per person, and the number of applicants was five times that of the capacity.
The flight took off at around 1:30 p.m. and flew over various parts of Hokkaido, including Kushiro and Wakkanai, before returning to Chitose. As an infection control measure, the number of passengers was limited to 70% of the normal capacity. “I really enjoyed the scenery of Lake Saroma and Sakhalin,” said a smiling high-school student from Kanagawa prefecture, who was aboard the flight.
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