LONDON – New Taiwanese carrier STARLUX has been making some substantial gains over the last few months. Are they becoming a threat to EVA Air?
STARLUX has had a positive week, from its stocks soaring past EVA Air to the airline making another long-haul route announcement.
Without further ado, let’s tackle the question in this piece…
STARLUX Soaring In The Markets…
According to Taiwan News, STARLUX’s shares soared off the back of the carrier, securing revenues of NT$1.523 billion.
Around NT$1.4bn of that contributed to passenger revenue, with around NT$86mn accounting for freight.
Earlier this week, the carrier’s shares rose by 26%, reaching around NT$30 per share, which was higher than EVA Air at one point.
Such hype in the markets dropped to around NT$29.25 per share but is very close to its competitor’s price of NT$29.70 per share.
Taipei-Los Angeles To Launch in April…
On February 11, STARLUX revealed that it will be launching services between Taipei and Los Angeles on April 26.
This route will be serviced by the airline’s Airbus A350-900 aircraft and will operate on a five-weekly basis.
In terms of days of operation, this will be on Monday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, and Saturday.
Such a frequency will come close to EVA Air in terms of tight competition, with the carrier currently operating daily services between the two destinations.
Looking at the fares for each carrier, the Taipei-Los Angeles flight with EVA Air will set you back around NT$35,568 for a return trip, whereas with STARLUX, fares start from NT$24,352, which highlights a considerable difference.
Such pricing will put a lot of pressure on EVA Air to remain competitive, meaning we could see a price war begin when services begin on the STARLUX side.
STARLUX & EVA Air’s Operational Performance…
Based on data from RadarBox.com, STARLUX has increased its weekly movement numbers by triple digits throughout 2023.
For February 12-19, the carrier achieved 36 weekly movements, based on the seven-day rolling average that the flight tracking company offers.
This represents an increase of 350% compared to the same period last year, which means that the airline is moving in the right direction.
Below is data from the whole of 2023 for STARLUX:
|Date||2022 Numbers||2023 Numbers||Percentage Difference (2023 vs. 2022)|
|January 1-8||9 movements||29 movements||+222.22%|
|January 8-15||10 movements||31 movements||+210.00%|
|January 15-22||7 movements||35 movements||+400.00%|
|January 22-29||4 movements||36 movements||+800.00%|
|January 29-February 5||1 movement||36 movements||+3,500.00%|
|February 5-12||8 movements||36 movements||+350.00%|
Whilst the numbers are still relatively small compared to EVA Air, increasing operations this considerably within the space of a year is something to keep an eye on going into the future.
As for EVA Air, its seven-day rolling average for February 12-19 came in at 133 movements, which represents an increase of 43.01% compared to the same period last year.
2023’s figure for that week is still around 37 movements short of achieving pre-pandemic levels, but the percentage increases are in the right direction.
Below is data from EVA’s first few weeks of 2023:
|Date||2019 Numbers||2022 Numbers||2023 Numbers||Percentage Difference (2023 vs. 2022)|
|January 1-8||168 movements||90 movements||128 movements||+42.22%|
|January 8-15||174 movements||102 movements||130 movements||+27.45%|
|January 15-22||172 movements||99 movements||129 movements||+30.30%|
|January 22-29||179 movements||98 movements||122 movements||+24.49%|
|January 29-February 5||171 movements||81 movements||130 movements||+60.49%|
|February 5-12||171 movements||88 movements||133 movements||+51.14%|
What we can see is that EVA Air is making major improvements compared to the same period last year, but more is still needed to achieve 2019 levels.
Should EVA Air Be Worried?
There is no simple answer to this question. It is both yes and no.
EVA Air should be worried because, within 12 months of operations, STARLUX has been able to grow in triple digits.
If the same growth rate continues in the year ahead, then STARLUX could very well operate as many flights as EVA Air, if not more, both internationally and domestically.
As mentioned in this article, the fare differences between the two sides on the Taipei-Los Angeles route, for example, could provide a credible threat to the long-haul operation.
For the argument against, it could be suggested that EVA Air still has time to prepare against the competition.
STARLUX isn’t at the same size as EVA Air as of yet, so the Taiwanese carrier could take some steps to place some pressure back on the new start-up.
Either way, this part of the market is going to be interesting to watch.
It remains clear that STARLUX is performing well and does indeed have the potential to be an aggressive competitor against EVA Air.
2023 will be an important year for the Taiwanese carrier as the foundations can be set to thrive and take some market share away from its main competitor.
If STARLUX has a successful 2023, then it will not take them long to get onto the same page as EVA Air, and, therefore, make things very exciting in that space.