TAIPEI (CNA) — StarLux Airlines Co. Ltd., a newly established Taiwan-based carrier, signed a contract on March 19 to purchase a fleet of 17 A350XWB aircraft from Airbus.

Under the terms of the contract, Airbus will deliver five A350-900s and 12 A350-1000s over a three-year period, from the end of 2021 to 2024.

In addition to ordering the new wide-body aircraft, StarLux will also lease 10 A320neo planes from Airbus, which will be delivered October 2019 through 2022.

The Airbus A350XWB is a family of long-range, twin-engine wide-body jetliners developed by Airbus, a European aerospace manufacturer.

StarLux will be the first Taiwanese carrier to operate the A350-1000s.

The new airline was founded in May 2018 by Chang Kuo-wei (張國煒), who was a former chairman of EVA Air, one of Taiwan’s two leading international carriers.

At the contract signing ceremony at Taipei Marriott Hotel on Tuesday, Chang said he was pleased to have signed purchase contracts with Airbus and engine maker Rolls-Royce. StarLux’s aim is to become one of the best airlines in the world, he said.

When the company becomes fully operational, its A350 aircraft will offer first class, business, premium economy and economy seats, Chang said.

Seating on the A350-900 model will be for 306 passengers, while the A350-1000 model will have a seating capacity of 350, he said.

At the signing, Paul Freestone, senior vice president of Rolls-Royce, said the new engines for the A350XWB will be more fuel efficient, allowing 25 percent less fuel burn and emissions.

To date, Airbus has received orders for more than 800 A350XWBs, making it one of the most successful wide-body aircraft ever, according to the company’s Chief Commercial Officer Christian Scherer, who was also at the signing ceremony.

Meanwhile, StarLux is scheduled to receive its air operator certificate from the Civil Aeronautics Administration around the end of the year and is aiming to start commercial service in late December or early January next year, Chang told reporters.

The airline has said it will focus on routes to other Asian countries and North America, targeting high-end travelers.

By Wang Shu-fen and Ko Lin