Starlux Airlines’ CEO Flies Every New Plane To Taiwan

Taiwan’s Starlux Airlines has just taken delivery of its second aircraft. The Airbus A321neo, registered B-58202, was delivered to Starlux in Hamburg on 19 December and flown back to Taiwan. It arrived in Taipei earlier today, having been flown back by none other than Starlux’s own chairman, Chang Kuo-wei.

Starlux A321neo
Starlux took delivery of its first A321neo aircraft in October 2019. Photo: Starlux

It’s almost time for Starlux Airlines to commence commercial operations. Taiwan’s newest airline is scheduled to operate its first flight on 23 January, and it’s been taking delivery of its fleet in preparation.

This morning, the airline’s second aircraft arrived back at Taipei Taoyuan International Airport after a three-day journey from Airbus in Hamburg. According to reports by Taiwan English News, Starlux Airlines’ Chairman, Chang Kuo-wei, personally flew the aircraft back from Hamburg.

Today’s new arrival followed in the footsteps of Starlux’s first A321neo, which made the same journey back from Hamburg between 26 and 29 October.

From Germany to Taiwan

After taking delivery of the new Airbus A321neo, the Starlux team, lead by Chang Kuo-wei, had to fly the aircraft all the way back to Taiwan.

Unlike larger Airbus types, such as the A350, the A321neo is a short-to-medium-range jet. With a maximum range of around 3,200 nautical miles, the journey from Hamburg to Taipei had to be split into a number of legs.

Flight Radar 24 data for B-58202 reveals that the aircraft had to make two stops on its way back to Taiwan.

Starlux Airlines A321neo
Starlux will take on Air China and EVA Air. Photo: Starlux

After departing Hamburg on 20 December, the aircraft made the six-hour journey to Dubai. It stayed in Dubai until 22 December, before making another six-hour journey to Da Nang in Vietnam.

Finally, from Da Nang, the aircraft flew two hours back to Taiwan on 23 December, where it landed at Kaohsiung. It then made another short trip to Starlux’s base at Taoyuan International Airport.

Chairman at the helm

You wouldn’t get many airline chairmen choosing to fly one of their newly delivered aircraft halfway around the world themselves. But Chang Kuo-wei isn’t just any airline chairman.

Chang actually used to be chairman of EVA Air, one of Taiwan’s two major airlines. EVA Air was founded by Chang Kuo-wei’s father, Chang Jung-fa. When Chang Yung-fa died in 2016, a fight for control of his businesses broke out between his children.

Chang Kuo-wei, son from his father’s second marriage, was ousted from his position as Chairman of EVA Air by his three half-siblings. Following his ejection, Chang Kuo-wei vowed to establish his own competitor airline, hence the creation of Starlux.

Starlux A350
Taiwan based Starlux is one of the biggest startups of 2019. Photo: Starlux

Chang is not short of capital to invest in Starlux, which he says he wants to turn into the “Emirates of Taiwan”.

“I want to bring Taiwanese airline brands to the world stage, breaking the stereotypes that we don’t have quality carriers,” he said back in 2017.

Following his recent trip in Starlux’s new Airbus A321neo, Taiwan English News reports that Chang has said he will personally inspect and fly each new aircraft back to Taiwan, provided he has the time.

Considering the airline currently has a further 23 aircraft on order, he may be spending quite some time in the pilot’s chair over the next couple of years.