Taiwan’s boutique start-up Starlux Airlines is eyeing Los Angeles as the first of many new US flight routes planned for 2022. Olivia Palamountain reports

A filing with the United States Department of Transportation (DOT) reveals that Taiwanese airline start-up airline Starlux has applied to serve 15 destinations across the US with nonstop A350-900 flights from Taipei (TPE) to Los Angeles (LAX) mooted from 2022.

Starlux, which launched its first flight in January 2020, will face some intense competition as China Airlines and EVA Air both fly nonstop between LAX and TPE. EVA flies the route up to three times a day, while China Airlines flies up to two times a day.

One of the youngest airlines in the world, Starlux bills itself as a premium carrier with both an economy and business class offering. Founder KW Chang believes luxury “should not be the exclusive experience of the elite but readily available to everyone”, with safety and service of the highest quality as standard.

Starlux innovations include cabins and amenities scented with “Home in the Air”, an exclusive fragrance formulated by Taiwanese perfumer, P Seven, transitional lighting that adapts to the various cabin modes – boarding, sleeping, dining – and eco in-flight bedding crafted from upcycled PET bottles and seashells.

Additionally, the airline partners with high-end brands to add value to the customer experience, such as its recent collaboration with Taiwan’s renowned NINAO gelato to create a bespoke flavour for the airline – a blend of local Taiwan Tieguanyin tea blended with chocolate.

During the crisis, Starlux has been focused on flying predominantly East Asian routes as well as flights to nowhere, a trend seen at the likes of EVA Air, Qantas, China Air and Thai Airways and covered extensively by Globetrender.

In spite of the heavy impact of the outbreak of Covid-19 on the global aviation industry, Starlux welcomed three new destinations – Bangkok, Osaka and Tokyo Narita – to its network in December, operating two flights per week on the three new routes.

Monocle magazine has also been tracking Starlux’s progress. It wrote in the November 2020 issue: “In August the airline offered one of the first ‘flights no nowhere’, a sky cruise that sold out in 30 seconds. In early October it put on moonlit flights along the Taiwanese coast, complete with Michelin-starred dishes amd panoramic views.”

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