It’s always exciting when a new airline makes its debut. This is likely because it is so rare these days, and most don’t make a great go of it. The market is very competitive, and with so many established carriers, it’s hard to get an effective operation up and running. Some have done well, such as Air Italy. Oh, just kidding. They posted massive losses. But they are at least still alive while others have quickly ceased to exist, like California Pacific Airlines, a notable short-lived example.
But even with multiple airlines going bankrupt this year, I’m hopeful that this newest entrant will manage to carve out its place in the sky.
Starlux Airlines’ Debut: New Taiwanese Airline Launching in 2020
With two major carriers already, I was a bit surprised that there is a third airline launching in Tawian. China Airlines, the flag carrier, and EVA Air have both served numerous destinations throughout Asia and around the globe for decades. But Starlux has big plans. They have not only A321neos on order, but also several A350-900s and -1000s that will allow them to begin long-haul operations.
The carrier seeks to establish itself in a premium niche. Their marketing, style, and appeal, from the press photos to their website, reveal a brand that is both luxurious and sleek. Their A321neo aircraft will not feature the typical recliner business class common on short-haul Airbus aircraft, but will instead offer 82-inch fully flat beds. Although, luxurious, the cabin will be small. And I expect that Starlux will be looking for a premium on these 8 seats versus the 180 that fill the economy cabin.
Economy seats will have a very standard 31″ of pitch. Not sure this resonates with the airline’s slogan: “Born with luxury. Shining like stars.” We’ll have to see what kind of experience they offer. The airline plans to offer free WiFi to all passengers, plus at-seat IFE on all aircraft. This is pretty luxurious these days in the industry.
The press release that unveiled the carrier’s uniforms states that “STARLUX aims to lead the style in the airline industry”. They are trying hard not be “just another airline” among the global carriers. Starlux will have its own “signature fragrance” that will welcome passengers to their home in the air each time they set foot aboard one of their aircraft. Assuming that the airline leaves passengers with a pleasant experience each journey, it is not a bad idea, as smells are the sense that triggers the most vivid emotions and memories.
Starlux Airlines is supposed to begin operations on January 23, 2020. However, tickets have not gone on sale, and I would not be surprised if that date is dialed back a bit. Their first destinations will be Macau, Penang, and Da Nang, all in southeast Asia. Like the other Taiwanese carriers, the airline’s hub will be at Taipei Taoyuan (TPE) Airport.
Would You Be Willing to Give Starlux a Try?
While I have no plans to fly the carrier while their route network is restricted to East Asia, I will certainly be willing to give them a try once they launch routes to North America, hopefully starting in 2021 as their A350XWB aircraft are delivered. I’m not sure what their long-haul network will look like, but I’m hopeful a West Coast city will make the early cut.
That is, as long as the airline has a successful start next year. Their financial backing must be good to secure the Airbus orders that they have, so I’m hopeful they can weather the initial growth phase and carve out a market share.
What do you think of Starlux Airlines’ debut?