While United just introduced its very “thinly configured” 50-seat CRJ-550 into service, ANA is preparing to put three densely configured, 180-seat A320s into its fleet.
Starting from January 2020, these aircraft will temporarily operate domestic routes out of Tokyo Haneda airport.
ANA’s Upcoming 180-Seat A320s
The three ANA A320s to enter into service with 180 seats are 3 of the 15 A320s that were previously used by Vanilla Air. The remaining 13 aircraft joined Peach Aviation’s fleet as part of a merger between the two airlines.
Currently, ANA operates only one domestic A320, equipped with 166 economy class seats. It also operates ten A320neos on international flights.
As for the reasons for not reconfiguring the aircraft into the 166-seat layout, Japanese travel media Traicy reported ANA citing the following reasons among others:
- It would take as much as two years to reconfigure and re-certify the aircraft
- The aircraft are due to be returned to their lessor fairly soon
- The airline is experiencing a shortage of domestic aircraft due to issues with engines on its 787s
For comparison, StarFlyer has up to 150 seats on its A320s and Lufthansa has up to 168 seats on its A320s and 180 seats on its A320neos.
Routes on Which the 180-Seat A320
As mentioned in the introduction, the plan is for ANA to only operate these aircraft temporarily for a period of about one year. After all, before deciding to add the three airframes to its fleet, ANA was in the process of phasing out its A320ceos.
Starting from January 6, 2020, the airline plans to use the aircraft on select flights to the following destinations out of Tokyo Haneda: Iwakuni (until February 29, 2020), Hachijojima, and Tokushima (until January 31, 2020).
On February 1, 2020, flights to Saga will be added. The aircraft will only operate on the route until the end of the month, though.
Finally, on March 1, 2020, the 180-seat A320 will be deployed on flights to Shonai, Toyama, Noto, and Hagi Iwami.
The new configuration is displayed in ANA’s schedules as “A32G.” The airline also warns the passengers who check the seat map for their “A32G” flight with the words:
Since this aircraft is configured with 180 seats, there is less space between seats compared to other Airbus A320 aircraft.
While it’s unfortunate for ANA to have to deploy these denser, less comfortable aircraft, luckily, it is only a temporary solution. Also, considering that these aircraft will only be used on a limited number of domestic routes, their impact on ANA’s overall passenger experience will be minimal.
It’s also worth giving credit to ANA for giving affected passengers a heads up through a note in the aircraft’s seat map.