StarLux Airlines Co (星宇航空) plans to resume operations next month by offering three flights from Taiwan to Macau each week and one weekly flight to Penang, Malaysia, citing easing conditions amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
The start-up airline, which on Jan. 23 began operations by providing daily flights from Taiwan to Macau, Penang and Da Nang, Vietnam, canceled most of its flights in February and suspended operations completely in the middle of March as the novel coronavirus spread.
“As the pandemic has been gradually contained in Taiwan, we decided to reopen [services] phase by phase, starting with a few flights and likely increasing the scale based on the market situation,” StarLux general manager Glenn Chai (翟健華) told reporters in Taipei yesterday.
From June 1, Starlux is to offer three round-trip flights from Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport to Macau International Airport each on Tuesday, Friday and Sunday, instead of its original schedule of three daily flights, Chai said.
It would also operate one round-trip flight from Taoyuan to Penang International Airport every Thursday, Chai said.
The airline expects businesspeople or officials attending public affairs conferences to be its first passengers, as they might still need to travel by air, Starlux spokesman Nieh Kuo-wei (聶國維) told the Taipei Times by telephone.
“Da Nang was not in the picture when we considered resumption, as most passengers to the city were tourists. We do not think that Taiwanese tourists are ready to travel overseas again, as the outbreak has not ended,” Nieh said.
Travelers to Macau and Penang would still need to undergo a 14-day quarantine after returning to Taiwan, as the Central Epidemic Command Center’s travel advisories for those two cities remains at a level 3 “warning,” he added.
The airline yesterday reopened its Web site to allow customers to buy tickets.
Starlux, which operates three narrow-body Airbus SE A321neo jets, said that it would cancel the middle seats in each row for the sake of social distancing, reducing the number of economy-class seats per aircraft from 188 to 127.
“The reduction in seats is unlikely to curb our revenue, as there would be a slim chance of full capacity based even on our most optimistic scenario,” Nieh said.
Starlux said that it is retaining its original plan of launching operations to new destinations — two second-tier cities in Southeast Asia and Japan — in the third and fourth quarters respectively.
Its goal of receiving another nine new A321neo aircraft next year remains unchanged, the airline said.
SEEKING ENGINEERS: The Dutch chipmaking equipment supplier is planning to hire 2,000 workers for a planned campus in New Taipei City’s Linkou District Dutch chipmaking equipment supplier ASML Holding NV is planning to offer NT$1.6 million (US$51,331) or more in starting annual pay to engineers with a master’s degree at its sites in Taiwan. The major supplier to contract chipmaker Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co (TSMC, 台積電) said it is keen to offer competitive compensation comprised of salaries, bonuses and other financial incentives as it seeks to expand its talent pool in Taiwan. The company, which is planning to build a plant in New Taipei City, said engineers would in their first year be granted 10 days annual leave, compared with the minimum of three days
Two US Federal Reserve officials reinforced expectations the central bank would slow their pace of interest rate increases next month, even as they stressed the need to keep tightening. San Francisco Fed President Mary Daly and Cleveland Fed President Loretta Mester said during separate remarks on Monday that inflation remains too high and policymakers have a way to go before completing their tightening campaign. However, they both characterized the need for officials to be judicious as they calibrate policy. “I think we can slow down from the 75 at the next meeting, I don’t have a problem with that,” Mester said during
‘SEASONED’: Chiang Shang-yi is to help guide Hon Hai’s global semiconductor development strategy as the firm accelerates the pace of capacity deployment Hon Hai Technology Group (鴻海科技集團) has hired former Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co (TSMC, 台積電) cochief operating officer Chiang Shang-yi (蔣尚義) as a strategy officer to assist its semiconductor business development, the group said yesterday. Chiang’s appointment took effect immediately. He is to report directly to Hon Hai chairman Young Liu (劉揚偉). Chiang was the central figure in TSMC’s technology advancement, and once considered a potential successor to TSMC founder and former chairman Morris Chang (張忠謀). He spent the past few years in China assisting Chinese chipmakers Semiconductor Manufacturing International Corp (中芯國際) and Wuhan Hongxin Semiconductor Corp (武漢弘芯半導體). Chiang on Oct. 18 attended a
PRIORITY SHIFT: TSMC previously said it would build two new fabs in Kaohsiung, but earlier this month said it was postponing construction of a 7-nanometer factory Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co (TSMC, 台積電) yesterday said that construction of a factory in Kaohsiung to produce 28-nanometer chips is under way, with mass production set to start in 2024. TSMC, the world’s largest contract chipmaker, made the announcement after reports about the company’s capacity expansion plans in Kaohsiung. Industry insiders said that TSMC on Friday awarded the contract to build the new fab to Fu Tsu Construction Co (互助營造). The chipmaker, a major Apple Inc supplier, did not directly respond to the reports, saying only that construction had started following the completion of land grading. TSMC previously said it intended to build a