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A Starlux A321neo. (Photo: StarLux Airlines)

StarLux Airlines Expands Route Map During Pandemic

Taiwan’s aviation industry is seeing a glimpse of hope during the coronavirus pandemic as StarLux Airlines will expand its route map to Thailand and Japan in December, the airline announced in a press release.

Japan and Thailand are favorite countries among Taiwanese tourists. StarLux has announced the twice-weekly services to Bangkok will be launched on Dec. 01, and the services to Osaka Kansai Airport and Tokyo Nartia Airport in Japan will be commenced on Dec. 15 and Dec. 16, respectively, also both twice per week. Earlier, StarLux rivals China Airlines and EVA Air also announced that they plan to resume their passenger services to Bangkok as Thailand’s infection curve has flattened.

StarLux Airlines launched services with three aircraft earlier this year during the onset of the pandemic, and it has taken steps to slow the spread of the virus. The carrier has maintained daily services to Macau and twice weekly to Penang, Malaysia. Cabin crews wear personal protective clothing, clinical masks, waterproof gloves and goggles during flights, and WiFi services have been suspended.

During the pandemic, StarLux has not stopped expanding its fleet. Earlier this year, the airline received its fourth Airbus A321neo. And future deliveries of an additional 13 A321neo aircraft seem to be on schedule with StarLux’s flight operations center expected completion in 2021.

Glenn Chai, the airline’s chief executive, mentioned that the airline’s development is underway with flexible planning. Earlier, the airline suspended launching services to Cebu, Philippines and Okinawa, Japan.

In the meantime, Taiwan’s aviation industry is expanding again after hitting a low point in the first quarter of 2020. As the island began recovering, airlines began to bring back services by offering local scenic flights. In addition, as a result of the demand surge in cargo services, the two major Taiwanese carriers, China Airlines and EVA Air, recorded a profit in the second quarter of 2020, a break from most airlines’ bleak performances.

According to China Airlines, its fleet of 18 747-400 aircraft, which are suitable for cargo services, paved the way for its success in the second quarter, with cargo revenue has reached $310 million in May, the highest cargo revenue in the airline’s history. Meanwhile, income from the passenger services were only 4% of the total revenue.

In the meantime, China Airlines has confirmed that it will increase frequencies between Taiwan and Hong Kong in response to the cease operation of Cathay Dragon. China Airlines said that it will increase 12 flights a week between Hong Kong and Taipei, Kaohsiung, Taichung.

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