Taiwanese startup airline StarLux has long planned to break into the US market, but could now push back its trans-Pacific debut to 2023 while waiting for the COVID recovery to kick in.
StarLux had previously slated the start of direct flights between Taipei and Los Angeles for June 2022, before resetting the schedule to the end of 2022.
"Now, with the pandemic still persisting, the launch of flights on the American route may be postponed further until 2023," Starlux spokesperson Nieh Kuo-wei told Focus Taiwan.
Positioned as a "detail-oriented luxury airline", StarLux was founded in mid-2018 by long-term Taiwanese aviation executive and former EVA Air chairman Chang Kuo-wei, scion of one of the island-nation's richest families with an estimated net worth of US$1.45 billion.
StarLux's 18-strong Airbus A350 fleet - comprising ten A350-900s and eight of the larger A350-1000s – will spearhead its North American expansion with first class and business class alongside premium economy and economy seating.
The airline has said the A350-900s would focus on cities such as Los Angeles, San Francisco, Honolulu, Seattle, San Jose and Ontario, with the longer-range A350-1000s bound for New York, Washington D.C., Houston, Chicago, Dallas, Miami and Boston.
StarLux will also pick up the keys to the first of eight Airbus A330-900neo jets by the end of this year, Nieh said, to complement the growing single-aisle A321neo fleet, which now stands at four but will swell ten by year's end.