Japan’s All Nippon Airways (ANA) has
confirmed it is considering whether to order Boeing’s proposed 7E7 but is
rather dismissive of Airbus’ A380.
ANA currently operates large
aircraft on some Japanese domestic routes including the more than 550-seat 747-400D,
which Boeing developed specifically for the Japanese domestic market.
When asked whether ANA could use
A380s for this purpose, vice president corporate planning Keisuke Okada said: “The
big question is will the customer be happy.”
He added at a press conference in
Tokyo organised by the Star Alliance that because of the high capacity of the 747-400Ds
“we have a lot of people waiting in the airport lounge and this boarding time
is crazy stress”.
“Baggage handling and passenger
handling can be chaos,” he says.
Airbus says the A380 in a typical
configuration can seat up to 555 passengers, and has proposed that the aircraft
be used on Japanese domestic routes with many more seats.
Okada says ANA may not have to
operate such large aircraft on domestic routes in future as the Government is
looking at expanding Tokyo’s congested Haneda airport with a fourth runway
around the end of this decade, which will make many new slots available.
“If that happens we don’t have to go
with big aircraft,” he says.
While Okada downplays the A380’s prospects
in Japan, he is relatively upbeat about Boeing’s proposed 200-250-seat 7E7 even
though the aircraft is years away from being manufactured.
“That 7E7 is a good aircraft so we
are making close communication with the manufacturer,” says Okada.
“We need to make some strategic
decision very soon.”