Taiwan’s boutique airline set for maiden flight to Penang

STARLUX Airlines aims to provide a wonderful experience for passengers on their direct flights connecting Taipei and Penang, beginning with its maiden trip on Jan 23.

Its chief communication officer Nieh Kuo-wei said they specialise in luxury air travel, allowing passengers to enjoy high-quality services and even meals specially prepared by the one-star Michelin Taiwanese restaurant Longtail for the business class.

The economy class will be served well too, by providing Taiwan-based meat brand “Hutong Roasted Meat” with rice.

“Since the airline’s establishment in May 2018, it has set a goal of becoming the best airline in Asia by pursuing excellence and providing an exquisite experience for passengers,” Nieh said in his speech at the STARLUX Airlines inaugural press conference at Shangri-la Rasa Sayang Resort today.

“Our founder, K.W. Chang, is passionate about aviation and luxury boutique airline. We take safety and quality of aviation service into account to provide travellers the safest and most luxurious flying experience.”

Nieh telling reporters that STARLUX Airlines is proud to provide high-quality services. With him is Hsu.

He added that while sales of tickets and travel packages were officially launched in Taiwan on Dec 16 last year, Penang would start selling theirs on STARLUX’s official website (www.starlux-airlines.com) as well as through travel agencies from tomorrow at 10am.

STARLUX Airlines’ A32neo has a total of 188 seats, with eight in business class and 180 in economy class.

One interesting feature of the business class is that the seat can lie flat at 180 degrees.

Each seat also has an AVOD in-flight entertainment system, so passengers can enjoy their own exclusive theatre.

The airline also boasts of its stylish cabin design, fresh appearance of flight attendants’ uniforms and signature “Home in the Air” on-board fragrance.

On Jan 7, state Tourism Development, Arts, Culture and Heritage Committee (PETACH) chairman Yeoh Soon Hin had announced that STARLUX Airlines would start off with a daily flight from Taipei to Penang and vice versa.

The flight time is about four and a half hours, with the plane departing Penang at 3pm every day (except on Saturday which is at 3.10pm), and departing Taipei at 9.20am daily.

Penang is one of the three Asian routes that STARLUX Airlines (A321neo) will simultaneously fly direct from Taipei on Jan 23.

Nieh said the airline would have three flights a day from Taipei to Macau and two flights a day from Taipei to Da Nang, Vietnam.

On future plans, he said they would be looking at other cities in Malaysia, especially Kuala Lumpur.

The pioneer ground staff members of STARLUX Airlines in Penang.

STARLUX, he said, would also look into expanding its routes to North America as it has planned to increase its fleet to 27 aircraft by the end of 2024 and 50 by the end of 2030.

Also present were Penang Global Tourism chief executive officer Ooi Chok Yan, CHTNetwork chairman Ch’ng Huck Theng and STARLUX Airlines Corporate Communications Department director Liu Liwen, its Malaysia branch manager Kevin Hsu Chien-wen and Corporate Communications officer Timothy Ma.

Ooi said he was delighted that STARLUX Airlines chose Penang as one of their destinations in this region.

Apart from being one of the World Heritage Sites recognised by Unesco, Ooi said Penang is also well known for its food, be it Malay, Chinese, Indian or international cuisines.

“Penang is truly an enclave of diversity in Asia. In our multicultural facade, surrounded by heaps of taste and sights – the colours of Penang is an endless treasure trove of wonderful experience. I believe this is what STARLUX Airlines wants to offer their passengers,” Ooi said in his speech.

“In the coming weeks, we will be hosting Chinese New Year and Thaipusam at the turn of February. We will also be hosting Songkran in April, the Penang Bon Odori in July and the Chingay Parade in December.

“Penang will celebrate these festivities and I am confident we will play a vibrant host to those flying STARLUX Airlines to Penang.

“So, I wish them all the best and once again, congratulations and welcome to our beautiful island of Penang.”

Story by K.H. Ong

Pix by Alvie Cheng