Tuesday, April 1, 2014

ANA quietly retires the Bombardier DHC-8-300Q.

As all spotlight is on the last passenger Boeing 747 retiring from Japan, All Nippon Airways (NH/ANA) also phased out its last Bombardier 'Q300' on March 31st.
Bombardier/de Havilland Canada DHC-8-315Q JA804K departs Haneda. (Photo: Ryosuke Yano)

DHC-8-315Q JA804K operated ANA Wings (EH/AKX) flight EH1849 (marketed as NH1849), service from Tokyo/Haneda (HND/RJTT) to Miyakejima (MYE/RJTQ), but ironically, after leaving Haneda almost three hours late at 1412, it had to return and the flight was canceled due to excessively high concentrations of sulfur dioxide on the volcanic island this day. Every person on the island is required to have a gas mask at hand at all times. The aircraft arrived back in Tokyo at 1529.
Staff pose in front of JA804K after returning to Haneda. (Photo: Aviation Wire)

JA804K is the last remaining of five originally acquired by Air Nippon Network (EH/AKX), the predecessor of ANA Wings. The first of the type was delivered in March 2001 initially to replace Air Nippon's (EL/ANK) Japan-made NAMC YS-11s flying regional routes from Haneda as well as intra-Hokkaido flights from Sapporo/Okadama (OKD/RJCO). Its inaugural flight was Haneda - Oshima (OIM/RJTO) on July 1st, 2001. JA804K was delivered on January 10th, 2003. 
JA802K 'Himawari' and JA803K 'Suzuran'. (Photo: Air Nippon Network)

Unlike most other ANA aircraft, these were delivered in flower-themed special liveries dubbed 'Flower Props'; JA801K (1st aircraft) was Tsubaki (Japanese camellia: Camellia japonica), JA802K (2nd) was Himawari (sunflower: Helianthus annuus), JA803K (3rd) was Suzuran (Lily of the Valley: Convallaria majalis), JA804K (4th) was Cosmos (cosmos: Cosmos), and JA805K (5th) was Hamanasu (Japanese rose: Rosa rugosa). All were repainted in ANA's 'Triton Blue' livery by March 2010.
3QQ3 (pronounced like 'thank you Q3' in Japanese) logo, along with Izu Oshima and Miyakejima's mascots. (Photo: Aviation Wire)

The retirement helps standardize ANA's turboprop fleet on the DHC-8-400Q. Started back on March 4th, 1966, their Miyakejima route has been flown ever since except for an eight-year suspension after the island's volcano erupted in July 2000. After resumption, load factors were around 30 - 40% and ANA decided to terminate the service effective April 1st. The Tokyo government-subsidized island link will now be taken over by New Central Airservice (CUK) on April 2nd (New Central Airservice receives 2nd Dornier 228NG.) when they launch Tokyo/Chofu (RJTF) - Miyakejima three times daily with Dornier 228s.

So, ANA is retiring its smallest (56 seats) and biggest (565 seats) airplanes on the same day.

Source: FlyTeam, March 31st. (in Japanese) 
Source: Aviation Wire, March 31st. (in Japanese)

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