Taipei, Jan. 16 (CNA) StarLux Airlines, established in May 2018, will take to the skies in January 2020, its founder Chang Kuo-wei (張國煒) said Wednesday.
Chang, former chairman of EVA Airways, told the press that StarLux will start with two or three routes to as yet undecided destinations in Asia, providing daily services.
The startup destinations under consideration include Macau, Thailand, Japan, South Korea, Malaysia and Singapore, he said.
By mid-2022, StarLux will expand its routes, offering long haul flights to American cities that EVA Airways now serves, Chang said, adding that he was the person who had planned EVA's destinations in the United States that now include Seattle, San Francisco, Los Angeles, New York, Chicago and Houston.
He said he will also seek opportunities for Starlux to carry passengers in transit between the U.S. and Southeast Asia, with the goal of making that category of traveler 40-50 percent of the airline's total passenger volume within 10 years.
StarLux has leased 10 Airbus A321neo narrow body aircraft and is scheduled to take delivery of the first one in October, and another two in January 2020, to operate on its initial regional routes, Chang said.
In addition, the carrier has placed an order to purchase 17 Airbus A350s, a long-range wide-body model, and is scheduled to take delivery of the first one by the end of 2021, he said.
Chang said StarLux will adopt a floating price policy employed by low-cost carriers to allow more flexibility in pricing and operations, while maintaining high quality services to become competitive.
On Jan. 4, StarLux launched a recruitment drive to hire 120 flight attendants. So far, it has received about 4,000 applications and the number is expected to increase to 6,000 by the deadline date on Jan. 21, it said.
Currently, StarLux has about 310 employees and its workforce is expected to expand to almost 1,000 by the end of the year. Construction of its flight operations center in Taoyuan started in June 2018 and is expected to be completed by July 2020 to accommodate all of its frontline personnel, including pilots, flight attendants, ground staff and technicians.
The airline's founder was chairman of EVA Air from 2013-2016, before he was ousted in a battle over control of the company following the death of his father, Evergreen Group founder Chang Jung-fa (張榮發).