Revealed: Starlux Airlines’ Planned US Routes

Filed Under: Other Airlines

We’ve just learned the US destinations that Starlux Airlines potentially intends to serve, and there’s a lot to be excited about!

Starlux Airlines will start flying long haul in 2022

Starlux Airlines is the Taipei-based airline that launched operations earlier this year. Obviously this isn’t a great time for an airline startup, though on the plus side the airline is well funded.

While most new airlines seem to take a low cost approach, Starlux Airlines considers itself to be a “detail oriented luxury airline,” so it’s upmarket from just about everything else we’re seeing.

The airlines has ordered a total of 39 planes, including:

  • 13 Airbus A321neos
  • Eight A330-900neos
  • 10 A350-900s
  • Eight A350-1000s

While Starlux Airlines started service with A321neos, lots of wide bodies will be coming in the next couple of years, as the airline will start taking delivery of both A330s and A350s in the fourth quarter of 2021. The A350s will even feature a first class cabin, with a total of 306 seats.

Starlux Airlines recently ordered A330-900neos

Starlux Airlines could fly to 15 US airports

We’ve known for a while that Starlux Airlines plans to launch flights to the US by the second quarter of 2022, and we now have more details of what that could look like.

As noted by @kyflle, Starlux Airlines has received approval from Taiwan’s aviation authority to operate flights to 15 North American destinations. The airline intends to start these flights in June 2022, with Airbus A350s. So, what destinations did Starlux Airlines request operating rights for?

Starlux Airlines may fly A350-900s to the following seven destinations:

  • Guam (GUM)
  • Honolulu (HNL)
  • Los Angeles (LAX)
  • Ontario (ONT)
  • San Francisco (SFO)
  • San Jose (SJC)
  • Seattle (SEA)

Starlux Airlines may fly A350-1000s to the following eight destinations:

  • Boston (BOS)
  • Chicago (ORD)
  • Dallas (DFW)
  • Houston (IAH)
  • Miami (MIA)
  • New York (JFK)
  • Newark (EWR)
  • Washington (IAD)

Starlux Airlines’ potential US destinations

Will Starlux Airlines actually launch all of these routes?

Now, while Starlux Airlines has named the above 15 destinations in a government filing, I wouldn’t necessarily assume the airline will end up flying to all of those destinations. I’d actually assume it’s highly likely the airline doesn’t fly to all of them:

  • It’s always better to ask for too much permission rather than not enough
  • This is still at least 18 months away, so a lot can change between now and then
  • Even if the airline eventually flies to all of these destinations, it won’t all be as of June 2022, given that the airline is only progressively taking delivery of A350s around that time
  • Serving 15 US destinations with a fleet of just 18 A350s seems aggressive, especially when you consider that presumably the airline will want to also fly to some destinations in Europe with those planes

Regardless, I’m thrilled to see the degree to which Starlux Airlines plans to fly to the US in general. A few things stand out:

  • If Starlux Airlines wants this network to work, it’s really going to have to develop partnerships in the US that can provide feed within the US
  • It would be so exciting if Starlux Airlines actually flew to Miami, as it would be the only nonstop service between Miami and Asia, other than to Doha
  • I suspect most of the filings for nearby airports (like JFK and EWR, or ONT and LAX) are because the airline hasn’t decided which airport to fly to

Starlux Airlines has A350-900s and A350-1000s on order

Bottom line

Starlux Airlines has shared plans to serve up to 15 US destinations, ranging from Guam to Miami. So far the airline has received permission from Taiwanese authorities, though it will still need to get US regulatory approval (it shouldn’t be an issue, given the Open Skies agreement).

We can expect these routes to start in mid-2022. Only time will tell how many of these destinations actually end up being served in the coming years, but the prospect of some of these routes sure has me excited. Bring on that Taipei to Miami flight, please (though it also seems like the least likely, given that no other airline has been able to make Miami to Asia outside of the Middle East work).

If you’re excited about Starlux Airlines flying to the US, keep in mind that the airline is offering four years status matches in its COSMILE frequent flyer program at the moment.

What do you make of Starlux Airlines’ potential US routes?

  1. Exciting indeed! Minor correction, Starlux has APPLIED for approval of these routes from the CAA (Taiwan aviation authority) – approval has not yet been granted. Read this also in Chinese language media yesterday.

  2. I hope this airline continues to grow. They seem to offer an excellent product and I want to fly a longhaul with them.

  3. If I set the over/under of the number of these routes they’ll fly in mid-2022 at 1, who’s taking the over?

  4. Their MO sounds very appropriate for a oneworld candidate, perhaps then SEA, MIA, DFW, JFK and LAX all makes sense given proximity to American and Alaska.

  5. China Airlines I believe flew to both LAX and ONT. (No idea if it’s still operated during covid, particularly with how well Taiwan is faring). The Inland Empire part of LA where ONT is located has a huge Chinese population.

  6. Very interesting…. but only if it doesn’t ruin them financially. My thoughts are that they should start SFO, LAX, HNL, and SEA in the first year, see how it goes, and then go from there. No need to aggressively grow their destinations to SJC, ONT, etc. ONT already has a 1x daily TPE service and SJC pax could (and do) easily drive to SFO. Of course, there is undoubtedly a market for these services, but it’s just not wise to venture into the realm of secondary airports, especially when considering their fancy schmancy product. Fly to SFO. No problem. Fly to LAX, no problem. SEA? HNL? ORD? JFK? No problem. It’s just that these other destinations probably couldn’t work with a first class cabin.

  7. Another (odd) thing that’s interesting to me is that they plan to use A350-900s for the West Coast/Hawaii/Guam and A350-1000s for everywhere else. Can someone explain to me, does this indicate that they plan to operate multiple daily frequencies to West Coast destinations? I would’ve allocated the fleet the other way around: -1000s to the West Coast, and -900s everywhere else. Switching this up indicates that they probably prefer frequency over size in the West Coast markets. I also would have thought that the fact that they are looking at over 10 U.S. destinations with a fleet of 18 A350s is a bit odd, especially considering that they’ll probably want to fly to Europe. And it seems they only plan on using the A339s for regional Asian destinations. (Maybe Australia too?)

  8. Another (odd) thing that’s interesting to me is that they plan to use A350-900s for the West Coast/Hawaii/Guam and A350-1000s for everywhere else. Does this indicate that they plan to operate multiple daily frequencies to West Coast destinations? I would have thought that the fact that they are looking at over 10 U.S. destinations with a fleet of 18 A350s is a bit odd, especially considering that they’ll probably want to fly to Europe.

  9. Can’t wait for the EWR flight. This will give Cathay Pacific some much needed competition from EWR and with the way China and Hong Kong has changed over the last year to become less welcoming to Americans, it will likely be my primary airline when flying to points throughout Asia. It would be awesome if they also would join Oneworld as well so I can credit the miles to British Airways, American, or Alaska plus having the option to redeem miles on these flights would be awesome as well. I know this last part is a dream.

  10. This is excellent news! I’m very excited to have direct flights to TPE, especially on Starlux. Can’t wait for this experience.

  11. ALL POSSIBLE . . . . but . . . it does NOT mean in any way, these destinations would be flown on a daily basis!

    Just like nowadays (Nov2020) TPE – BKK …. 3x weekly!

    THAT’S how most airlines start new routes if standing on there own feet, like in the good old days of flying.

    I remember:
    3x weekly AC YTO-DUS
    4x weekly PA JFK-MUC
    1x weekly LT MUC-MLE
    3x weekly SQ SIN-DUS
    4x weekly SW WDH-FRA
    5x weekly HP PHX-NGA
    3x weekly UA EWR-CPT

    …. just to remind all those too excited readers, NOT everything these days is DAILY.

  12. Actually, Miami has TWO non-stop flights to Asia:

    1. MIA – DOH (Qatar)
    2. MIA – TLV (El Al)

    Inclusion of MIA-TPE would be the third.

  13. @Ben Dover:

    Not trying to nit pick, but Ben’s initial post said, “It would be so exciting if Starlux Airlines actually flew to Miami, as it would be the only nonstop service between Miami and Asia”, which technically is incorrect, including no mention of Pacific rim – I think that’s what Ryan pointed, including “first in the Pacific Rim.”

    Not a big deal, but Ben included Doha, thereafter, my guess. For sure, there are two direct Miami to Asia flights, if you don’t consider Pacific rim.

  14. @ Ben Dover

    Not trying to nit pick in here, but there’s no mention of “Pacific” in Ben’s post. Moreover, Doha wasn’t included initially in the post by Ben. I guess that’s what Ryan is talking about.

    There are two direct flights from Miami to Asia (Doha and Tel Aviv) if Pacific rim isn’t considered.

  15. Saying no airline has been able to make Miami to the Pacific Rim work implies airlines have tried and failed, when that’s not the case.

    While I think it’s a long shot, Miami’s most important Asia markets are Hong Kong and Taipei because of the shipping/transport industry ties between the two, so to some respect Taipei may make more sense than Tokyo or Seoul.

  16. I would be interested to know Starlux’ thinking about joining an alliance (or not).
    Star Alliance seems a standout contender…..

  17. A Miami route will be great for catching a connecting flight to Bangkok (which by the way will be served by Starlux)

  18. I would assume their network will grow in a similar pattern as to how EVA Air grows in North America – focus heavily on the West Coast (and probably NYC) first, then explore new metros with significant/rising Asian (esp. Taiwanese and S.E. Asian) communities (i.e. DFW, ORD, MIA). The aircraft assignment sounds random to me as Starlux said they intend to have First Class on A351s, so these A351s should be on more premium heavy routes rather than pure East Coast/ORD/TX routes. A very ambitious plan and with their good reputations so far with the A321s could be the next EVA Air (or better).

  19. Lol. They barely have any south east asian or mainland connection (danang and penang?). Who goes there without going to saigon and KL first? So unless they can compete in price with Xiamen or Hainan, i probably would not fly them. Xiamen and Hainan offer good hard product and superb soft product if you can speak mandarin and like chinese food. $2k for solid sleep across pacific with attractive FA and delish chinese food and free wifi? Can’t complain too much.
    But of course, we might not even see the return of hainan.

  20. Doha..Asia???..Someone missed a few days in geography class.Doha is a city in Qatar on a Peninsula off Saudi Arabia…sorry thats the middle east not Asia…

  21. They will need a US partner. Unless they are going down the OneWorld route (the only option really for them in Taiwan) JetBlue seems the only viable option, but that sure doesn’t help them on the West Coast. Alaska would have been obvious pre- One World, but now I’m not so sure.

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