It seems Starlux Airlines of Taiwan is going to add eight Airbus A330neo aircraft to its fleet.
The eight A330-900neo aircraft will be leased from Air Lease Corporation. They will be delivered starting in the fourth quarter of 2021.
These will join the Starlux fleet, which currently has three Airbus A321neo in its fleet.
The airline also has outstanding orders for an additional 10 Airbus A321neo, 10 Airbus A350-900 and eight Airbus A350-1000 aircraft.
Starlux currently operates from Taipei-Taoyuan to Macau, Penang, Da Nang, with plans to operate to Cebu. With the A330neo and A350, they are also planning to add Europe and the Americas to its network.
Why the A330neo?
The A330neo fits nicely into to the middle-to-long range category, that makes it possible to use the type, fitting into the role of a high-capacity people-mover able to take them over a medium distance, or a medium density aircraft able to fly longer missions.
In terms of distance, the A330-900neo is rated for a maximum of 7,200nmi/13,334 km with 287 passengers, whereas the A350-900 is rated for 8,100nmi/15,000 km with 315 passengers (in a three-class configuration).
As such, the A330neo will fit into those long haul routes that don’t need to carry as many people or regional operations that need to shift more than what a loaded A321neo can. Bear in mind that airlines like EVA Air and China Airlines use A330 aircraft both on regional and medium-haul routes – so the use of the aircraft on this sort of route would not be unprecedented.
Filling in an A350 gap to start with
The other reason seems to be the delay in delivery of Airbus A350 aircraft at the moment – with Starlux’s first A350 not due now until Q1 2022 at the very earliest.
For the airline – it’s a chance to start those long haul dreams a little earlier, as well as pull in the cash these routes can generate.
Growth – but at the worst time possible
Starlux’s stalls and growth have not come at a good time, with the airline having to ground itself shortly after taking off. Its plans of taking on the European and North American targets with a luxury product will bring into conflict with carriers in the area such as Air China, Cathay Pacific, EVA Air and China Airlines – to name a few.
It’ll be interesting to see how the airline performs over the next few years – especially as they’re targeting the high-value markets verses the Low-cost airlines.
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