The first Airbus A350 bound for Starlux Airlines has been spotted at the European planemaker’s Toulouse home in France. The aircraft already has its paint scheme applied but is still awaiting its two Rolls-Royce Trent XWB engines.
When Taiwan’s Starlux Airlines launched, it did so, intending to operate Airbus A350 aircraft. The airline firmed up its A350 order in March 2019 before downgrading four orders for the larger -1000 in November of that year. Now, we are getting even closer to the delivery of the first A350, which will be used by the airline for North American flights next year.
Line number 480 spotted
We regularly see new Airbus A350s rolling off of the Airbus production line in Toulouse, France. According to AIB Family, 480 was spotted unpainted in Toulouse back in mid-May. What makes 480 special is that it will be the first A350 to be delivered to Starlux Airlines. This particular aircraft is the smaller -900 model.
Yesterday, the aircraft was spotted in its new Starlux Livery, sporting the test registration F-WZGN, in addition to its intended registration once delivered, B-58501. According to data from ch-aviation.com, the aircraft is currently expected to be delivered in March 2022. This would tie in with when the airline intends to launch transpacific flights.
In March 2019, Starlux placed its firm Airbus A350 order. At the time, the airline ordered 12 A350-1000 aircraft and a further five or the slightly smaller A350-900. Interestingly, the airline opted to downsize the capacity of its order somewhat in November 2019. As it now stands, the Taiwanese carrier expects to take eight -1000s and nine -900s.
Following the delivery of the first Airbus A350, Starlux Airlines intends to start flights from Taiwan to North America. Currently, EVA Air also operates flights between Taiwan and the US. While not yet giving the specifics, Starlux revealed it would launch such flights in 2022, before,
“Growing steadily toward becoming one of the world’s leading airlines.”
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Starlux Airlines today
Currently, Starlux Airlines is operating a fleet of five Airbus A321-200 aircraft. These are all new, with an average age of 1.3 years and a total capacity of 940 seats. The aircraft all operate out of the airline’s Taipei Taoyuan (TPE) base.
According to flight schedule information from aviation data experts Cirium, Starlux is currently flying its A321neo fleet to eight short-haul destinations. Macau is a crucial destination with 49 rotations planned for July, while Osaka and Narita each just have four cycles planned. In total, the airline plans to operate 215 flights this month. This was a considerable improvement from the start of the pandemic when the airline was forced to halt flights shortly after its launch.
How do you think Starlux’s livery looks on the Airbus A350-900? Let us know what you think and why in the comments below!