ANA Launches Exclusive Mojave Air and Space Port Tour
Aviation enthusiasts offered a rare glimpse into final resting place of ANA's
former commercial aircraft at the Mojave “airplane graveyard”
Just over two hours north of Los Angeles, nestled in the expansive California desert, sits the Mojave Air and Space Port (MHV). The vast “airplane graveyard” serves as the final resting place for numerous former commercial aircraft, including those once operated by ANA.
In March 2024, aviation enthusiasts will be able to embark on a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to visit the graveyard as a part of the ANA Mojave Airport Tour (website available only in Japanese).
With more than a year of meticulous planning invested in this exclusive paid tour, ANA sat down with the event’s organizers, Takeshi Iizuka and Takuma Koga. Iizuka is a member of the maintenance planning team, and Koga serves as a power plant engineer at the ANA Engineering & Maintenance Center.
ANA “Gattsuri Hiroba” Program
Iizuka and Koga planned this event as a part of ANA’s “Gattsuri Hiroba” program, which means to explore boundless curiosities, launched in 2021 to encourage employees to plan events that capture the public’s interest and explore innovative ways to diversify ANA’s business models.
“We’re both avid aviation enthusiasts and have always dreamed of visiting Mojave Airport, so we cannot wait to share our passion with others,” said Koga.
The ANA CX (Customer Experience) Department oversees events from the “Gattsuri Hiroba” program to ensure a profitable and engaging event for participants. Some previous events from the employee-driven program include weddings onboard the ANA A380 FLYING HONU, upcycling seat covers to create slippers and aircraft hangar photography tours.
ANA Mojave Airport Tour
The Mojave Air & Space Port is home to a total of 22 of ANA’S former B777 aircraft, all of which served on international and domestic routes. Each aircraft boasts a unique story, with the most notable being JA8197, the first B777 to enter service in Japan.
During the tour, participants will arrive in Los Angeles to dine and shop at MotoArt, a facility that repurposes aircraft parts to create special and unique memorabilia. The following day, participants will visit MHV, where a private tour featuring the former ANA aircraft is lined up.
“Besides the rare opportunity to tour a facility not open to the public, this tour was planned for aviation fanatics by aviation fanatics,” said Iizuka.
Participants will even have the chance to purchase various parts from former ANA aircraft, including the registration from JA8197, aircraft antenna and emergency exit row signage.
With over three times more applications than available slots, this tour has garnered far more interest than anticipated. Aviation enthusiasts from all over Japan seeking a chance to tour MHV will have the opportunity to get up close and personal with a piece of ANA history.
Why and how do aircraft end up at Mojave?
While pilots and flight attendants are the faces we encounter first when boarding a flight, numerous individuals work behind-the-scenes to ensure an aircraft can take flight.
According to Iizuka and Koga, maintaining a safe workplace at the ANA Engineering & Maintenance Center is paramount for aircraft maintenance and ensuring safe travel.
Aircraft takeoff and land many times throughout the day, with cabin pressurization occurring each flight. ANA’s B777s serving domestic routes in Japan may even operate up to five flights per day, emphasizing the crucial role of maintenance in safe operations.
After an aircraft is retired from service, it is sent to storage facilities such as MHV. From there, some aircraft undergo refurbishment and are delivered to new operators, while others are dismantled and scrapped.
Final messages from the organizers
The ANA Mojave Airport Tour was made possible by the coordination of many different teams within the ANA Group, including ANA Trading Corp., U.S.A. which handles the sales of former ANA aircraft parts.
“I want to continue hosting events like this in the future and share what ANA has to offer with the world,” said Koga.
“I want to plan more events that nobody has thought of before. In fact, we are already considering what else we can do in the future,” said Iizuka.
For dedicated employees like Iizuka and Koga, the ANA “Gattsuri Hiroba” program allows for their dreams and passions to take flight.