Taiwanese start-up carrier Starlux Airlines is in discussions to lease up to 24 aircraft, with a target to firm the deals within the year.
The airline tells FlightGlobal it is in advanced talks to take 10 Airbus A321neos from lessors, with a decision to be finalised in the first half of 2018.
The jets will need to be delivered by the fourth quarter of 2019, as the airline prepares to launch operations in January 2020. These narrowbody aircraft will service countries such as Japan and South Korea in Northeast Asia, and to Thailand, Vietnam and Singapore in Southeast Asia.
The carrier adds that it is also in talks, although not as advanced, for up to 14 new generation widebodies such as the Airbus A350, Boeing 787 and 777X. A decision will be made by the end of the year, with a target to use them to launch long-haul services to North America by 2021.
Concurrently, Starlux is undertaking the necessary process to apply for relevant permits and its air operator’s certificate.
The airline says there is enough room for a third large operator in Taiwan, and that it will be a full-service operator targeting the business and leisure markets. It will position itself as a “high-end boutique carrier”, with an emphasis on service levels. Its regional network will meanwhile serve as feed for its long-haul services to North America.
The new Taiwanese carrier was founded by former EVA Air chairman Chang Kuo-wei, who was ousted from the airline shortly after the death of his father, the founder of Evergreen Group, in 2016.