Glenn Chai, STARLUX

Glenn Chai

Bringing Luxury Travel To All Passengers

Editors’ Note

As an established aviation industry expert with over two decades of experience, Glenn Chai manages the company’s overall operations and leads its vision and strategies. Prior to joining STARLUX as CEO, Chai held a variety of management positions at EVA Airways leading the Business Coordination Division and Passenger Management Departments. Prior to EVA Airways, Chai was Executive Vice President at EverFun Travel Services Corp., a subsidiary of EVA Airways. He holds a degree in Business Administration and International Trade from Chung Yuan Christian University, Taiwan.

Company Brief

Launched in 2020, STARLUX (starlux-airlines.com) is a luxury airline based in Taipei now serving 19 destinations. STARLUX is dedicated to providing exquisite services and utmost comfort for each passenger to enjoy an unforgettable journey. The STARLUX fleet consists of three types of new-generation Airbuses which are extremely efficient – A321neo, A330neo, and A350 – to provide the finest and eco-friendly journeys.

Will you discuss STARLUX’s history and how the airline has evolved?

STARLUX was founded in 2018 by K.W. Chang, former chairman of EVA Air, who strongly believes that luxury should be accessible to all, not just the elite. This philosophy has driven him and our team of aviation veterans and visionaries to create STARLUX, a carrier expanding in a world of no-frills airlines. We’re a boutique international airline that prioritizes safety and offers unparalleled service with the goal of making flying a truly luxurious and unforgettable experience.

STARLUX took to the skies in January 2020 with inaugural flights from Taipei to Macau, Da Nang, and Penang. STARLUX has since expanded its network to more than 18 Asian destinations. On April 26, 2023, we made our inaugural transpacific Taipei to Los Angeles flight, are currently gearing up to launch our second Taipei to San Francisco route, and also paving the way for more long-haul international flights.

STARLUX aircraft

STARLUX aircraft (above and below)

What have been the keys to STARLUX’s strength and growth?

The keys to STARLUX’s strength have been its commitment – and passion – to bring luxury travel to all passengers. We are positioning ourselves as a “boutique airline” focused on the transit market and the business traveler market. Our brand strategy centers on attracting business travelers and mid-to-high-end travelers, building brand loyalty, avoiding price competition with the brand premium effect, and filling the gap between regular and boutique airline services in Taiwan to provide high-quality software and hardware services. We also target business travelers and mid-to-high-end consumers who value a high-quality flight experience over price. Thus, we deliver a consistent boutique airline image through branding, great service and cabin design, and partnership with the best-of-the-best in other industries.

We are a rising star in the Asian market. From the award-winning uniform design to the luxurious VIP room and high-performance fleet, we have brought a new standard to the airline industry. The cabin design sets a higher benchmark and creates an exquisite flight experience that is different from traditional airlines. Our expectation is that if we can accomplish things other airlines cannot duplicate, passengers will be drawn to us, whether they are regular customers of other airlines or not. We hope flying with us will be something that all passengers will look forward to.

Our belief that “Luxury should not be the exclusive experience of the elite, but rather available to everyone” is resonating with our passengers, many of whom have become loyal customers and advocates for STARLUX.

“The keys to STARLUX’s strength have been its commitment – and passion – to bring luxury travel to all passengers. We are positioning ourselves as a ‘boutique airline’ focused on the transit market and the business traveler market.”

Will you highlight the STARLUX fleet and destinations?

The STARLUX fleet consists of 21 cutting-edge, eco-friendly Airbus aircraft: A321neo (13), A330neo (4), and A350neo (4). STARLUX is serving 18 Asian destinations: Tokyo, Osaka, Fukuoka, Okinawa, Sapporo, Sendai, Kumamoto, Macau, Penang, Kuala Lumpur, Bangkok, Singapore, Ho Chi Minh City, Da Nang, Hanoi, Manila, Cebu, and Clark, with Nagoya and Chiang Mai next to be launched. We launched transpacific long-haul flights to the U.S. in April 2023 with service to Los Angeles, and recently added service to San Francisco.

Where do you see opportunities for growth for STARLUX?

Our inaugural flight to Los Angeles this past April is just the first in a series of new long-haul intercontinental routes planned for North America, Europe, and Oceania, with nonstop service to San Francisco recently starting. From there, our plan is to launch one new U.S. route per year as part of a concerted push into long-haul travel.

STARLUX has always had two main target markets: the transit market and the high-yield passenger market. We establish our network and service plan based on the target markets. According to IATA (International Air Transport Association), both these markets were booming in Q1 2023. In the Quarterly Air Transport Chartbook, IATA states that international traffic demand for routes between Asia and North America grew by 251.3 percent compared to Q1 2022. In addition, premium traffic, represented by first and business class passengers, has recovered faster than total passenger traffic. IATA expects the aviation industry to return to profitability in 2023; STARLUX is also confident about the outlook.

How is STARLUX working to enhance the guest experience?

From first class to economy, STARLUX flights are designed to delight and soothe the senses, from earth-toned interiors to award-winning crew attire to curated in-cabin aromatherapy and Michelin-rated meals.

Guests on the long-haul routes will enjoy luxury service. First and Business travelers have a private space with a sliding door and seats with full-flat and Zero G mode for full relaxation. The extra-legroom Premium Economy section features 40-inch Recaro seats with a leg rest and footrest bar. Economy Class seats are built for utmost comfort, with a leather headrest and wide seat pitch. All guests have seatback entertainment featuring 4K personal large screens.

All STARLUX flights provide exquisite dining including Taiwanese signature dishes and amenities prepared for all-class passengers to enjoy an at-home experience in the air. To bring greater individuality to their air travel experience, passengers can pre-order meals online so they can enjoy the meal they want.

Will you highlight the STARLUX workforce and the talent of the team?

Founded as a company in 2018 with its first intra-Asia flight in January 2020, by all measures, STARLUX is a startup. However, we have some serious credentials in the space. Founder and Chairman, K.W. Chang, is the former chairman of EVA Air, a well-regarded carrier also based in Taipei. Not only that, he’s also an esteemed pilot who holds the rank of captain for the Airbus A350 aircraft. In fact, he led and flew the STARLUX inaugural flight to Los Angeles. He is joined by a management team of aviation veterans and visionaries, all of whom bring with them expertise from many different airlines, allowing us to extract the best parts of their experience, enabling STARLUX to grow quickly.

What are your priorities for STARLUX as you look to the future?

Our base in Taipei provides an advantageous geographic location within the fast-growing Asia-Pacific market. Our focus is on the transit and premium traveler market. Transit passengers only make up about 10 percent of volume – there’s still a lot of room for growth. From Taipei, we can reach most major cities in Asia in five hours, and from Taipei, transit passengers can fly to further destinations in North America and Europe. We believe the number of transit passengers can reach 30-40 percent.

One of our priorities is to always differentiate ourselves by providing more and the best. We chose the most advanced aircraft in the market, employing the newest technology and seating in the cabin. We’re devoted to offering passengers quality and unprecedented amenities. We hope flying with STARLUX will be something that our passengers will look forward to – where all five sense – olfactory, gustatory, auditory, tactile, and visual – will be addressed and satisfied.