Starlux Airlines is reportedly considering the Airbus A330 as a new addition to its fleet. The Taiwanese airline hasn’t actually begun operations yet, but it is scheduled to make its first commercial flight on 23 January 2020.
Preparations continue ahead of Starlux Airlines’ January launch which will see it open three new services from Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport.
The first three destinations on the start-up airline’s books will be Da Nang in Vietnam, Macau in China and Penang in Malaysia. All three are popular holiday destinations which will allow the airline to focus on a reliable, steady source of ticket sales as it finds its feet.
Starlux’s chairman, Chang Kuo-Wei, has described his vision of making the airline the “Emirates of Taiwan”. He sees differentiation in the quality of the Starlux’s product and services as a way to set the airline apart from its competitors.
When it comes to Starlux’s cabin crew uniforms, a local Taiwanese fashion designer named Sean Yin was tasked with creating a modern, yet classic style.
Starlux will be operating a small fleet of Airbus A321neos on these regional routes, to begin with. So far it has ordered 10 Airbus A321neos, one of which has already been delivered. Another is due to arrive this month and one more is expected in January. The remaining seven are due to be delivered before the end of 2020.
These Airbus A321neos will come with 180 economy class seats, as well as eight business class seats.
Startlux has also placed sizeable orders for the Airbus A350-900 and its larger sibling the Airbus A350-1000, with nine and eight units respectively. The first of Starlux’s Airbus A350s won’t be delivered until 2021, meaning that it will have to make do with its Airbus A321neos in the meantime.
But rumors about a potential acquisition or lease of Airbus A330s have been circulating for a while.
According to reports by Focus Taiwan earlier today, Starlux itself has confirmed that it is considering the Airbus A330 as a new addition to its fleet. Airline spokesman, Nieh Kuo-Wei, said Starlux is considering the Airbus A330 for routes between Taipei and a number of Asian capitals as it expands its route offering.
He also said that the airline is still in the process of assessing how many Airbus A330s it may need. A final decision is expected to be announced in mid-2020.
Tough competition for the outset
Starlux has ambitious plans, especially for a start-up airline. Competition in Asia is very tough, with multiple well-established airlines across the region.
Not only will Starlux have to contend with its domestic competitors – China Airlines and EVA Air – it will have to deal with the giant Chinese carriers, China Southern, China Eastern and Air China.
There are also numerous other large airlines based in the countries Starlux plans to fly to which will no doubt be keen to eat into Starlux’s market share.
Simple Flying reached out to Starlux with a request for comment on the potential acquisition of Airbus A330s, but the airline hasn’t been able to respond yet.