Taiwan-based start-up carrier Starlux Airlines, set to begin operations in January 2020, has received approval from Taiwan’s Ministry of Transportation and Communications for 13 new routes to Japan and Thailand.

According to local news website udn.com, the carrier will fly from Taipei Taoyuan International Airport (TPE) to eight destinations in Japan, including Tokyo Narita, Osaka, Nagoya, Hakodate, Sapporo, Sendai, Fukuoka and Okinawa; and to another three cities in Thailand, including Bangkok, Chiang Mai and Phuket.

Meanwhile, Starlux Airlines will also operate charter flights from Taichung International Airport (RMQ) to Tokyo Narita and Osaka. In addition, the carrier has also filed applications for flights between Taiwan (Taipei and Taichung) and Vietnam, which are awaiting approval by the Ministry of Transportation and Communications.

Nieh Kuo-wei, public relations manager of Starlux Airlines, told udn.com that the carrier would first focus on routes to Southeast Asia because there would be only three aircraft available at the beginning. He mentioned that they were also considering flights to the Philippines, Singapore, Indonesia and Macau.

Starlux Airlines has already rented from Airbus ten A321 aircraft, the first of which will be delivered to the carrier in October 2019.

Earlier in March this year, the start-up carrier signed an official purchase agreement with Airbus to confirm their order to buy another 17 A350XWB aircraft, including five A350-900s and 12 A350-1000s, with the airline having options of an addition ten for later delivery. The five A350-900s are slated for delivery from late 2021, while deliveries of its 12 A350-1000s will start in the third quarter of 2022.