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All Nippon Airways 'Flying Honu' plane returns with service from Tokyo after pandemic hiatus

ANA Flying Honu
All Nippon Airways
ANA’s Flying Honu fleet consists of three Airbus A380 aircrafts painted to look like sea turtles.

All Nippon Airways reopened its service on the Airbus A380 “Flying Honu” plane from Tokyo last week.

ANA suspended the honu-themed flights to Hawaiʻi at the beginning of the pandemic due to travel restrictions in both Japan and the U.S.

japanese travelers arrive honolulu airport
Casey Harlow
Travelers from Japan arrive in Honolulu on the All Nippon Airways plane designed to look like a honu, or turtle.

Japan is the largest international market to the islands but has been the slowest to recover.

Visitor arrivals from Japan were down 93% in May, compared to the same month in 2019, according to data from the Hawaiʻi Tourism Authority.

"We’re actually still down from 2019. Overall arrivals are still down. Spending is up 10%, coincidentally, which is our goal," said Kalani Kaʻanāʻanā, HTA’s chief branding officer.

"So when you look at the spend, when you look at the kind of traveler that we’re trying to attract — the Japanese visitor really helps support us in both of those things," he said. "They have a higher per person, per day spend. They’re the mindful Hawaiʻi traveler who is respectful of people and place."

About 13% of all Hawaiʻi visitors came from Japan in May 2019.

In May 2022, that number was less than 1%.

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