The airline won’t be debuting its first flight until next year, but Taiwanese start-up STARLUX Airlines could be a game changer in the world of aviation if a recent flight sale is anything to go by.
Since being dubbed Taiwan’s first luxury boutique airline, the new player in aviation has been generating a stir both locally and worldwide.
Branding itself as the “Emirates of Asia”, the airline – which will focus on being a luxury offering – has a fleet of 10 A321neos and 17 A350s that will give passengers plenty of legroom in economy, large TV screens, lie-flat beds in the business cabin and a range of food to match.
According to CNN, just 11 minutes after opening ticket sales online on December 16, the Taipei-based carrier sold out all seats on its first three flights – Taipei-Macau, Taipei-Penang and Taipei-Danang.
“Tickets to Macau sold out in six minutes, tickets to Danang sold out in nine and tickets to Penang sold out in 11 minutes,” Liwen Liu, director of STARLUX’s corporate communications division, told CNN.
“All 188 seats on each of the three flights. We’re very happy about it. We had our expectations but the response has been better than what we expected.”
But the sales were not a result of cheap fares. In fact, the airline founder – Chang Kuo-wei – said they would not be targeting bargain hunters, instead promising the tickets will be reasonable but more expensive than its competitors and not likely to start a price war.
“We consider flying as an enjoyable part of the journey,” adds Nieh Kuo-Wei, public relations manager of STARLUX Airlines. “We offer top-notch and exquisite services. It differentiates STARLUX from other companies in the market.
“We position ourselves as a boutique airline, targeting the higher-end market. We have introduced the most advanced aircraft models with the latest aviation technology and seats. We offer exquisite service items so the fare will be slightly higher than the other airlines.”
Despite the sale success, some have questioned why the airline has waited until just a few weeks out from their first flight to put tickets on sale. But it’s understood the holdup on sales was due to STARLUX waiting to be granted their airline certificate from Taiwanese officials.
But now it has, the airline is expected to be a game changer in the island’s aviation market.
Offering passengers free Wi-Fi with basic access, which will be texting only for economy passengers, there will also be a unique cabin scent throughout the aircraft created by Taiwan-grown fragrance brand P.Seven.
“From the passengers’ point of view, there will be new and substantial benefits for them to have new choices and possible new fare reductions in the longer term,” Chang said.
“There’ll be competition for better services on the plane.”