STARLUX Airlines: Will have first class on their A350’s – if they survive
Amid other airlines announcing the abolition of change fees, offering amenity kits and pyjamas for sale on-line, calling for government support, or indeed, announcements of bankruptcy, Taiwan based, StarLux Airlines announced on Sunday 6 September that its new fleet of wide-body A350 aircraft will have first class cabins! This when a bunch of airlines are effectively eliminating first class on many routes. You can read the full report over at Focus Taiwan the online outlet in English of CNA the national news agency of Taiwan (or the Republic of China).
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StarLux, which has not had the best of luck, having only just launched its first flight on 23 January 2020 – right before the pandemic affected the worldwide airline industry, has on order 17 wide-body A350 and (9 A350-900s and 8 A350-1000s) . The first of these aircraft from Airbus is scheduled for delivery in the fourth quarter of 2021, so that’s frpom October 1 to the end of 2020.
StarLux wants to be seen as a luxury airline, so including a first class cabin in it’s fleet’s larges aircraft is not a big surprise. all of the aircraft will offer first class seats, with the exact seating arrangement to be determined by the end of the year, The surprise is that they say that they have yet to determine exact seating arrangements. Given the usual lead times in for aircraft interior fit outs, this is a bit of a surprise. On the other hand, there probably isn’t much of a queue given the extremely low levels of flying at the moment due to the pandemic and border restrictions.
The new A350’s are set to fly from Taiwan to Northeast and Southeast Asia, and then in the second quarter of 2022, on to the United States West Coast.
These routes will add to their existing network flown by their current fleet of 3 – soon to be 4 – A321neo aircraft. A further 6 A321neo’s are due to be delivered in 2021.
StarLux suspended its operations in March due to COVID-19. It has since resumed some services to Macau, China and Penang, Malaysia. It hopes to launch new services to Cebu, the Philippines second-largest city, and to Okinawa in Japan. Both these services were originally planned for earlier this year.
Other Taiwanese Airlines are eliminating First Class
Taiwan already has two international airlines with EVA Airways (EVA) and China Airlines (CAL). StarLux hopes to become their third, and will be the first to operate the 1000 version of the A350. China Airlines already operates the 900 version.
Both EVA and CAL have been eliminating First Class since they took delivery of B777’s starting back in 2005. It will be interesting to see how much of an advantage having First Class will be to StarLux in the Taiwanese market.
Can’t wait to fly with this airline, on the A350 – preferably in first. Let’s hope they have Australian destinations in their planning. Taiwan has been on my list for a few years now. Can’t wait. I just hope Starlux has sufficient financing to keep going through the pandemic and come out the other end as an economic regional and international airline.
Lets face it – I can’t wait to fly – anywhere at the moment!
Damn you COVID-19!