TAIPEI (CNA) — After seven months of negotiations, StarLux Airlines Co. Ltd. has formally agreed to purchase 17 A350 aircraft from Airbus, StarLux spokesman Nieh Kuo-wei (聶國維) confirmed on March 1.
The newly established airline will purchase five smaller A350-900s and 12 larger A350-1000s, to be delivered from the end of 2021 to the end of 2024, Nieh said. The contract will be signed in Taipei on March 19.
Nieh would not reveal the amount of the deal, citing a non-disclosure agreement. The wide-body jetliners are valued at about US$6 billion based on list prices, according to Bloomberg News.
StarLux, founded in May 2018 by former EVA Air Chairman Chang Kuo-wei, had previously signed a memorandum of understanding to purchase the 17 aircraft at the Farnborough Airshow in the United Kingdom in July 2018.
In addition to the new wide-body aircraft, the airline has also leased 10 A320neo aircraft, with the first to be delivered in October and the rest through the middle of 2022.
The new carrier has also been busy filling out its personnel needs. Thirteen pilots hired by StarLux left for Phoenix in the United States on Friday to participate in a year-long training program, and a second round of pilot recruitment was launched in January, with applications received from more than 6,000 candidates vying for 120 openings.
StarLux is scheduled to begin service in January 2020, focusing on routes to Asia and North America, and intends to target high-end travelers.
By Wang Shu-fen and Flor Wang