LONDON – Taiwanese start-up carrier Starlux Airlines has firmed up an order for 17 Airbus A350 aircraft.

The deal comprises of 12 A350-1000s and five -900 variants, adding yet another secure commitment to the program.

Commenting on the deal was Founder and Chairman of the airline K.W. Chang who emphasised the enthusiasm behind the A350 program in the airline.

“We are very glad to sign the official purchase agreement today for Airbus widebodies. The A350’s combination of extra-long range capability, significantly lower operating costs and high passenger comfort were key factors in our decision”.

“STARLUX is committed to becoming one of the best airlines in the world. We are positive that with the A350 XWB, we will be able to spread our wings to further destinations, bringing our best-in-class services to more people over the world in the near future.”

Christian Scherer, Airbus’ Chief Commercial Officer also added some words, including why Starlux may have opted for the aircraft.

“What K. W. and STARLUX are proving is that when you start from a clean sheet, you make no compromises. Every STARLUX A350-1000 takes off 45 tonnes lighter than its alternative. Imagine the savings! And will fly up to 1,000 more miles than the alternative, enabling STARLUX to serve US-East Coast destinations nonstop! Imagine the extra market & revenue!”

“Both the A350-1000 and A350-900 offer true long range capability, greater passenger comfort, yet all the economic benefits of fleet commonality. We salute STARLUX’s strategic choice with gratitude and we will be there to support their legitimate ambition.”

This firm order originated from a Memorandum of Understanding signed at the Farnborough Air Show in July last year.

The five A350-900s will be powered by Rolls Royce’s Trent XWB84 engines whilst the 12 -1000s will be powered by the XWB97s.

Deliveries will begin from 2021, where the -900s will be delivered first, with the -1000s beginning delivery and entry into service by the third quarter of 2022.

All 17 A350XWBs will be deployed on transpacific routes not yet formally confirmed by the carrier.

As of February 2019, Airbus has secured 852 firm orders from 48 different customers for the programme, and will hope to achieve more as we approach the Paris Air Show later this year.

Wherever Starlux will operate the aircraft to remains a mystery at this point, although in the next 12-18 months, we will probably have a better idea of which destinations the carrier will opt for.