The operational plan for a new airline to be called StarLux includes employing a staff of 3,500 to run a fleet of 24 planes in the first six years, a close associate of the carrier's founder told CNA Saturday.
The goal is to start commercial operation by the end of 2019, targeting passengers transiting between Southeast Asia and North America, said Neih Kuo-wei (聶國維).
Neih, a close associate of StarLux founder Chang Kuo-wei (張國煒), said an application will be submitted to the Civil Aeronautics Administration (CAA) by the end of the year to establish the airline company, and the contracts for the purchase or lease of aircraft will be finalized by next year.
In the first six years, Starlux will acquire 24 planes and employ a workforce of 3,500, said Neih, a former spokesman for EVA Airways Corp., which was chaired by Chang until March 2016.
In the second six-year period, StarLux will increase its staff to 7,000 or 8,000 and will acquire another 26 commercial aircraft, Neih said.
The plan is to start by targeting the Southeast Asia market in the first year of operation, then expand into Northeast Asia, and extend service to the west coast of North America in the second year, he said.
StarLux will seek to differentiate itself from other carriers by offering luxury services and making its economy class more comfortable than usual, he said.
According to StarLux's Facebook page, the aircraft models that the company is looking at include the Airbus A321neo, A350, A350-1000, and Boeing 787 and 777X.
StarLux's initial routes will include Singapore, Bangkok, Kuala Lumpur, Hong Kong, Japan and Macau, according to the page.
StarLux started recruitment earlier this month and is expected to begin hiring office staff, pilots and flight attendants soon, Neih said.
Chang became chairman of EVA Air in January 2013 but when his father, Evergreen Group founder Chang Jung-fa (張榮發), died in January 2016, a war of succession erupted among his children and Chang Kuo-wei was eventually removed from the chairman post.
He was replaced by Steve Lin (林寶水), a long-serving executive in the Evergreen Group, and no longer holds any executive position in the group.