HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - We know they can sure swim, but on Wednesday a honu flew into Honolulu.
The airline ANA successfully completed the first of two test flights for its Airbus A380, which sport a livery that resembles a big turtle.
"It's very exciting. To be honest, it's the first time to see the aircraft A380," said Hiroshi Shibata, the general manager of ANA Hawaii.
“Goosebumps. it’s a two-year project and here it is today. We’re so excited,” added Ross Higashi, the deputy director of the state Department of Transportation’s Airport Division.
The A380 is the largest passenger aircraft in the world.
ANA bought it to keep up with demand for flights between Japan and Hawaii.
“Honolulu is very popular for Japanese tourists so that’s why we need seat capacity over 500,” said Shibata.
Some 520 seats, to be exact.
And this is a double decker, with passengers paying a premium price to be on top. The airport spent money too ― $13 million ― to make room for the wide-body aircraft.
“We had to add a 3rd level passenger loading bridge to accommodate the A380,” said Higashi. “We’ve also built a stairwell corridor to accommodate the international passengers. We also had to strengthen the apron where the A380 is parked because of the weight of the plane.”
Honolulu is now the 11th airport in the U.S. to accommodate the A380. And it’s predicted this massive plane will fly-in big bucks.
“About $285 million in economic revenue to Hawaii and approximately $30 million in tax revenues,” said Higashi.
ANA’s new service between Honolulu and Tokyo starts on May 24. And this is just the first “flying honu.”
Two other planes ― one green, the other orange ― will also eventually be traveling to Hawaii.
To celebrate the new service, ANA said it will donate 520 milo trees to the Hawaiian Legacy Re-forestation Initiative. That number symbolizes the 520 seats on the A380.