After a family dispute led to his departure from Taiwan's Evergreen Group and EVA Air, Chang Kuo-wei, is forming his own new airline set to take off in 2020.
It seems like a family drama which is spilling into the competitive airline business. Chang is the youngest son of Evergreen Group founder Chang Jung-fa who died in 2016. He was named by the elder Chang to become his father's successor as chairman of the entire conglomerate. However, since he is a son of his father's second wife, his half-brothers fought and succeeded in having him removed from his executive position in March of 2016.
During his tenure as chairman of the group between 2013-2016, EVA Air was able to achieve a 5-star Skytrax rating. Now, Chang Kuo-wei - who also happened to be a certified 777 pilot at the time for EVA Air - will be using his large inheritance to help fund the new airline.
The new airline will be called StarLux Airlines, which in the last few months Chang has stated would not only compete with Taiwan-based China Airlines and EVA Air. It would also build Taiwan as a transit hub for high-end travelers to become the "Emirates of Taiwan."
Chang's vision is taking a new step forward as Taiwan’s Minister of Transportation and Communications Hochen Tan said that he has approved an amendment to Taiwan’s “Regulation of Civil Air Transport Enterprise,” which would scrap the required 5 year operational requirement for any new international airline license in the country.
During a recent press event, Chang laid out the plans for the airline which included potential routes and revealing an initial order for new aircraft. StarLux is looking to operate 10 Airbus A321neos set to be received starting in October 2019. The airline is also in talks for future widebody planes from both Boeing (777s and 787s), and Airbus (A350s) for flights to North America by the year 2021.
Chang was quoted in saying: "StarLux will seek to differentiate itself from its competitors by targeting high-end travelers through introducing more modern services and reacting more flexibly to passengers' needs, as it is a relatively new airline that does not have outdated standard operating procedures."
Flights to Japan would be first market the airline will focus on followed by destinations in Southeast Asia. Among the cities identified by Taiwan's Central News Agency include Thailand, Vietnam, Singapore, Bali, Jakarta and Kuala Lumpur.