MIAMI – India’s SpiceJet (SG) and Taiwan’s Starlux Airlines (JX) have both received approval from the US Department of Transportation (DOT) to commence flights to the United States.

In November 2020, low-cost carrier SpiceJet applied to launch flights from India to the United States, notably with a fleet of Boeing 737s. SpiceJet intends to promptly begin operating a Delhi (DEL) to New York (JFK) route. Because the airline plans to use 737s, stops will be needed along the way.

SpiceJet proposes to operate Boeing 737-700 and 737-800 Freighters along with 737-800 passenger aircraft for U.S. flights. The carrier’s initial objectives are to operate charters carrying COVID-19 personal protective equipment and to repatriate citizens.

Although SpiceJet has selected the Boeing 737 to fly between DEL and JFK, the airline states it “may expand its fleet of aircraft used for US operations in the near future, including wet leases.” SG could target larger aircraft, such as leasing the Airbus A330neo, to operate nonstop services from India to the United States.

Two months after submitting the application, the US DOT awarded SpiceJet a foreign air carrier permit and the authority to fly passengers and cargo between India and the US.

Photo: Alberto Cucini/Airways

Starlux Airlines’ US Proposition

Starlux Airlines is the second foreign carrier this week to gain US DOT approval to launch flights to the United States. The new Taiwanese airline, which just began flying over a year ago with Airbus A321neos, has ambitious expansion plans.

In November 2020, it was reported that JX applied with Taiwan’s Civil Aeronautics Administration to serve 15 U.S. destinations. These include Los Angeles (LAX), San Francisco (SFO), Dallas/Fort Worth (DFW), New York (JFK), Boston (BOS), and more.

Starlux Airlines now holds the authority to serve these 15 destinations, but they may not end up flying to all.

Starlux Airlines Airbus A321neo. Photo: Starlux Airlines

In their December 2020 US DOT application, JX specifically flagged intentions to begin flights from Taipei’s Taoyuan International Airport (TPE) to Los Angeles (LAX) in 2022 with its upcoming Airbus A350-900s.

Starlux Airlines has remained resilient during the COVID-19 pandemic. Since launching passenger flights last year, the airline expanded to destinations such as Tokyo (NRT), Bangkok (BKK), and Kuala Lumpur (KUL) and signed an agreement to lease eight Airbus A330-900neos.

With the US DOT granting JX’s request to commence US flights, the carrier is now cleared to inaugurate its first transpacific flights as part of an impressive international expansion.

Featured Image: Starlux Airlines A350-900. Photo: Starlux Airlines