[UPDATE: Starlux Airlines firmed up its order on March 19, 2019]
Taiwan-based startup carrier Starlux Airlines will join the ranks of airlines operating Airbus’s A350 aircraft, with the carrier expected to take delivery of 12 of the manufacturer’s newest widebody aircraft, the A350-1000, and five of its predecessor, the A350-900.
The order was announced yesterday at the Farnborough Airshow currently taking place in the UK.
As previously reported by Business Traveller, Starlux had been nearing a decision on a widebody aircraft to join its fleet back in May, though at the time it was considering ordering just 14 aircraft.
An exact delivery date for the new A350s hasn’t been announced, though the airline has previously stated it was looking to take delivery of its widebody aircraft towards the end of 2021 in time for the 2022 launch of its long-haul operations.
Starlux won’t begin by flying long haul, however. The airline already has an order for 10 leased A321neo narrowbody aircraft that it plans to finalise by the end of the year. Delivery of the first A321neo is expected to take place in October 2019 ahead of the airline’s launch of regional operations in early 2020.
Starlux has yet to unveil details of how it will configure its aircraft, though it describes itself as a full-service airline offering “best-in-class luxury travel”. Ultimately, the startup carrier aims to develop a network that includes destinations in Asia as well as long-haul services to North America.
This comes at a time when Taiwan’s other two major carriers, China Airlines and EVA Air, are also enhancing their operations both regionally and long-haul, including North America.
Flag carrier China Airlines launched a new non-stop flight to Ontario International Airport in San Bernardino, California earlier this year, and began flying its own A350-900 on its San Francisco route in May last year.
EVA Air, meanwhile, launched a new daily flight between Taipei and Chiang Mai in Thailand earlier this month.
Starlux founder Chang Kuo-wei was formerly the chairman of EVA Air.
The A350-1000 is Airbus’s newest widebody aircraft, with Hong Kong flag carrier Cathay Pacific being just the second airline to take delivery of the aircraft after launch customer Qatar Airways.
Business Traveller recently reviewed Qatar Airways’ Q Suite business class product on board its A350-1000, flying from London Heathrow to Doha…
… and also attended the delivery flight of Cathay Pacific’s first A350-1000 last month.