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Staging a comeback, Chang Kuo-wei gets green light for business registration of Starlux; airlines set to soar in 2020

STARLUX A321neo[30957]
All photos captured from Starlux’s Facebook
Eye on Taiwan news staff

Starlux Airlines, a new Taiwanese carrier planned by former EVA Air chairman Chang Kuo-wei, Wednesday received a green light from Taiwan’s economics ministry for its business registration, taking a big and important step towards its targeted operation in 2020.

According to the ministry, the airlines has an authorized capital of NT$30 billion, with a paid-in capital of NT$6 billion and a staff of over 150.

Starlux now needs to pass a five-stage evaluation conducted by Taiwan’s Civil Aeronautics Administration to acquire its Air Operator Certificate in order to begin operations in 2020 as scheduled, the airlines said in a press statement.

Starlux is initially going to operate 10 advanced and fuel-efficient Airbus A321neos on lease with the first aircraft to be delivered in October 2019, it said.

Local news media said these narrowbody planes are expected to service countries such as Japan and South Korea in Northeast Asia, and to Thailand, Vietnam and Singapore in Southeast Asia.

The airlines is also in the final stage of evaluation and selection for additional 14 wide-body aircraft and will take delivery of the first aircraft by the end of 2021 according to plan, Starlux said.

With three A321neos flying the initial routes from Taipei to southeast and northeast Asian destinations, Starlux’s fleet will include up to 24 aircraft by the end of 2024 to serve over 20 destinations in Asia and North America, it noted.

Starlux anticipates gradually expanding its network as its fleet grows, providing best-in-class luxury travel for passengers worldwide, the airlines said.

starluxIn the meantime, the company is continuing its aggressive program of new staff recruitment, systems implementation, aircraft leasing and other relevant operations, it said.

In the second half of this year, more aviation professionals will join the team and begin a robust pilot training program. Mass recruitment for airport ground staff and cabin crew is planned to begin in 2019, according to Starlux.

The airlines will be a full-service operator targeting the business and leisure markets. It will position itself as a “high-end boutique carrier”, with an emphasis on service levels. Its regional network will meanwhile serve as feed for its long-haul services to North America.

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Starlux Chairman Chang Kuo-wei

“Being high-end and luxurious is not about the price tag, but rather an attitude, a standard embedded in our brand. We will always be at the forefront of safety and quality service to achieve operational excellence and to perform beyond each passenger’s expectations in every detail,” said the airlines’ chairman. Chang has turned what he said in the company’s brand slogan: “Born to be luxury. Shining like stars,” Starlux is dedicated to making each journey a once in a lifetime experience of exquisite enjoyment for each and every passenger.

Chang is the fourth son of the late Evergreen Group founder Chang Yung-fa, who died in January 2016. He was forced to step down as the group’s vice president and EVA Air chairman in February as a result of a family feud with his elder brothers over the control of one of Taiwan’s biggest conglomerates.

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When Chang announced his plan in November 2016 to stage a comeback by establishing Starlux, many in the industry doubted he could be able to do so, given the relatively small market in Taiwan.

Chang, who is a pilot and had been praised for his ability to make EVA Air a profit-making company, however, said there is enough room for a third large operator in Taiwan. He was referring to China Airlines and EVA Air, which are considered large operators in Taiwan.

Shortly after announcing his plan, Chang launched Starlux Investments Limited in 2017 to lay the groundwork for the new airline, including applying for all relevant permits and certificates.

 

Milestones

Nov. 2016 Company founder K.W. Chang formally announces plans to establish STARLUX Airlines
Apr. 2017 Founding of STARLUX Investment Co. Ltd.
Aug. 2017 First wave of personnel recruitment
Sep. 2017 STARLUX Airlines Headquarters is established at No. 382 Section 6 Nanjing East Road, Taipei, Taiwan
Mar. 2018 Application lodged to CAA Taiwan for setting up STARLUX Airlines
Apr. 2018 Receive green light from CAA Taiwan and submit the application to Ministry of Economic Affairs to set up STARLUX Airlines
May. 2018 Receive the official business registration certificate
Mid-2019 Pilots, Air and Ground crew recruitment
Early 2020 STARLUX Airlines fully operational

 

 

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