Taiwan-based Starlux Airlines officially began flying to the United States (US), with the carrier’s Airbus A350 departing toward Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) on April 26, 2023.
The aircraft, registered as B-58503, departed to LAX from Taoyuan International Airport (TPE) at 2:32 PM local time (UTC +8) and is scheduled to arrive at its destination almost 12 hours late, at around 11:20 PM local time (UTC -7).
Starlux Airlines revealed its ambitions to fly to the US in May 2018 when the company announced that it would begin flights in 2020 and will operate 24 aircraft “to serve over 20 destinations in Asia and North America” by 2024. The Taiwanese carrier began flights in January 2020, starting with flights across Southeast Asia and Macau, a Special Administrative Region (SAR) of China.
It took delivery of its first Airbus A350-900 in October 2022.
“This delivery is a milestone for Starlux Airlines. The A350-900 is our first large widebody aircraft, which will allow Starlux to open markets for longer routes, and this also marks the next step in our partnership with Airbus, with 17 more A350s deliveries in the future,” said K.W. Chang, the Chairman of the airline, at the time. Chang added that the A350-900 will allow the carrier to “cover short, mid, and long range flights, providing service to passengers outside Asia”.
On April 20, 2023, the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Starlux Airlines, Genn Chai, also revealed that delivery delays from Airbus had impacted Starlux Airlines’ ambitions to fly to other destinations in North America, such as New York.
“New York is a must – it is the largest city in North America, but it depends on aircraft deliveries,” said Chai, adding that Airbus cannot deliver aircraft fast enough. The executive welcomed Boeing to “take part in the price quotation process,” suggesting that Starlux Airlines is open to the option of introducing aircraft from the US-based manufacturer to its all-Airbus fleet.
“We have been pushing Airbus to provide the aircraft as soon as possible, but their production rate is not able at the moment to return to pre-pandemic levels,” Chai added.