New Taiwan airline targets transit passengers between U.S. and Southeast Asia

StarLux Airlines to start flying early next year

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StarLux Airlines aims for transit passengers (image courtesy of StarLux Airlines).

StarLux Airlines aims for transit passengers (image courtesy of StarLux Airlines).

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) - StarLux Airlines (星宇航空) will target passengers traveling between the United States and Southeast Asia, as right now too few of them transit in Taiwan, company founder Chang Kuo-wei (張國煒) told the media Wednesday.

Chang set up StarLux, which is expected to start flying early next year, after leaving the Evergreen Group and EVA Air following the death of his father, transportation tycoon Chang Yung-fa (張榮發) in 2016.

In his interview, Chang emphasized that StarLux would fly to every U.S. destination where EVA was present, the Central News Agency reported. EVA currently operates services to Los Angeles, San Francisco, Seattle, Houston, Chicago and New York.

Only 10 percent of passengers transit at Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport, an unfavorable comparison to Hong Kong and Singapore, where up to 30 percent of travelers are in transit, Chang said.

StarLux will probably need ten years to raise its own proportion of transit passengers to 40 or 50 percent, he added.

The new airline, which aims at a luxury market, is scheduled to take delivery of its first leased Airbus A321neo in October, with a total of three starting operations in January 2020 and seven more following. StarLux is also buying 17 Airbus A350 aircraft, with the first one due to arrive by the end of 2021. Long-range flights across the oceans should begin in the middle of the following year, according to Chang.