TAIPEI (CNA) — Taiwanese startup airline StarLux Airlines will seek to differentiate itself from its competition through high-end services, chairman Chang Kuo-wei (張國煒) said earlier this week, when the carrier unveiled its uniform and cabin design.
“We at StarLux are not aiming to become the biggest airline in Taiwan, but rather the airline that sets quality standards for others to follow,” said Chang, a former chairman of EVA Airways, one of Taiwan’s two leading international carriers.
StarLux will initially operate 10 A321neo jets, with a configuration of 8 business class seats and 180 economy seats, featuring an unprecedented high level of services in Taiwan, he said.
For instance, there will be free Wi-Fi in business class, and passengers will be provided with personal 15.6-inch 1080p inflight entertainment system screens while seated in the first narrow-body airliner seat in Taiwan that transforms into an 82-inch fully flat bed.
Economy class passengers will have free text-only Wi-Fi access, with a leather headset, 10.1-inch 720p screen, USB port and single earphone port in every seat, Chang said.
In addition, Chang said, all passengers will be able to choose their meals before boarding, through a ticketing system that is mainly web or app based.
The airline has also developed an exclusive fragrance — a mixture of iris, violet and wood — which will be used not only on its flights but also at the airline’s ticketing counters and lounges, according to Chang.
Despite these features, Chang said, ticket prices will remain competitive and cost only “a few hundred New Taiwan dollars more” than other airlines.
StarLux’s uniform collection for cabin and ground crews has been designed by Taiwan fashion designer Sean Yin (林尹培袞) and combines fashion elements from the 1940s and 1950s with space-age accents.
The uniforms, which employ mainly gold and silver tones, have been generally well received by Taiwanese netizens.
On Jan. 23, the airline will inaugurate three round-trip flights to Macau, two to Da Nang, Vietnam, and one to Penang, Malaysia, according to StarLux, which will maintain at least one round-trip flight to each destination per day.
Chang said the airline will focus on Southeast Asian destinations in the first few years of its operation, paving the way for the transit market between the region and North America, which StarLux plans to enter in 2022.
StarLux is unlikely to fly to Japan until mid or late 2020 because it will not be competitive enough relative to other airlines, which have more established flight networks and operate larger aircraft between the two countries.
StarLux will start introducing 17 wide-body A350s from 2021 and is considering obtaining A330neo jets, Chang said.
The airline, which currently has NT$6 billion (US$194 million) in capital, will increase its capital by NT$2 billion before the end of this year, Chang said, adding that the company envisages breaking even in five years.
By Lee Hsin-Yin