Absurd But Predictable: China Forces China Airlines To Change Livery

Absurd But Predictable: China Forces China Airlines To Change Livery

45

Taiwan-based China Airlines is trying to downplay its connection to mainland China, and that’s coming with some consequences.

China Airlines’ (controversial?) new livery

China Airlines has been working on rebranding, and it’s something that Taiwan’s Parliament has even voted in favor of. China Airlines is based in Taipei, and is the “flag” carrier of Taiwan. However, there has long been confusion and controversy surrounding the name. Confusion has been especially common among those who may not be familiar with the nuances of Taiwan vs. mainland China.

Many assume that China Airlines is based in mainland China, when in fact the airline is based in Taiwan (People’s Republic of China vs. Republic of China), which has a very different identity. This has caused frustration, in particular in light of the pandemic.

In 2020, China Airlines took delivery of its first Boeing 777F (freighter aircraft). As part of this, the airline introduced a new livery, which was a subtle way of rebranding. For context, below is what the China Airlines livery used to look like on cargo aircraft.

China Airlines’ “old” livery

Then below is what the modified livery looks like.

China Airlines’ “new” livery

You’ll notice two major difference:

  • “China Airlines” is written in much smaller font toward the back of the plane, rather than prominently toward the front of the plane
  • The “C” in “Cargo” is a map of Taiwan, subtle as it may be (I could see some people thinking to themselves that the plane simply has chipped paint)

China Airlines in trouble over new livery

It’s being reported that China Airlines cargo jets with the new livery (featuring a map of Taiwan) are being banned from flying to mainland China. This is obviously creating major issues for a Taiwan-based cargo airline.

Both China Airlines and Taiwan’s government have been trying to figure out how to deal with this. One proposal was to have a subfleet without a map of Taiwan on it that’s used for flights to the mainland, but logistically that was just too complicated. Now the airline has decided to change (and simplify) its livery once again.

The latest Boeing 777F cargo aircraft that China Airlines took delivery of is pretty bare. “CARGO” is no longer written in big letters, and as a result there’s also no map of Taiwan anymore. Rather there’s just “China Airlines” written in small letters toward the back of the aircraft, and then there’s the typical flower on the tail.

Bottom line

China Airlines intended to introduce a new livery to distance itself from mainland China, and instead showcase the company’s pride in Taiwan. This hasn’t been well received by the government of the People’s Republic of China, which has now banned these aircraft from flying to the mainland.

As a result, the airline has had no choice to modify the livery on these planes, to remove the subtle map of Taiwan. I suppose this shouldn’t come as much of a surprise…

What do you make of China forcing China Airlines to change its livery?

(Tip of the hat @RossFeingold)

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  1. Levin Yeo Guest

    CHINA AIRLINES is mostly confused with AIR CHINA. I have worked with the carrier before back in 2017 on an ad campaign, and they had since taken a brand new perspective: exploiting the confusion.

    They explained that the change in livery is minor and they rather do that than do what EVA Air has to do and fly around or via Bangkok, making Europe very unprofitable. CI pointed to being able to fly to...

    CHINA AIRLINES is mostly confused with AIR CHINA. I have worked with the carrier before back in 2017 on an ad campaign, and they had since taken a brand new perspective: exploiting the confusion.

    They explained that the change in livery is minor and they rather do that than do what EVA Air has to do and fly around or via Bangkok, making Europe very unprofitable. CI pointed to being able to fly to all downtown to downtown airports across Asia of which there will be many. Why talk about politics if we can't change it. Let's talk about opportunity.

    By the way, it is China Airlines that is killing Cathay Pacific with its better, more successful Chinese culture theming.

  2. Nosa Guest

    Cross straight political thing is way more complicated than people think. PRC claims Taiwan as a province, while ROC still officially claims entire China and even Mongolia as part of its territory. Taiwan independence got more supports in recent years but not all people see it is the correct direction. There are some mutual agreed policies in aviation industry that Air China’s plane to Taipei does not carry the PRC flag, and there is no...

    Cross straight political thing is way more complicated than people think. PRC claims Taiwan as a province, while ROC still officially claims entire China and even Mongolia as part of its territory. Taiwan independence got more supports in recent years but not all people see it is the correct direction. There are some mutual agreed policies in aviation industry that Air China’s plane to Taipei does not carry the PRC flag, and there is no Taiwan independence tricks in China Airlines either. Not even mentioning the rebranding. You may think, oh keep on doing that, let’s rebranding! But it may mean company collapse for China Airlines, job lost for employees. Saying is always easier than doing.

  3. John Guest

    Waiting for @Eskimooo to give her usual pro-dictatorship (any dictatorship will do!) justification/apologia/rationalization, complete with abstruse references.
    Soooooo predictable........[yawns]

  4. trex Guest

    The Taiwanese legislature made CI management promise to do something to make their planes less "Chinese', some actually wanted CI to change its name and take China out of it totally. ROC (Taiwan) government still owns about 1/4 of CI shares through the government owned China Aviation Development Foundation. The cargo logo was quite frankly a sop which satisfied no one. The first time i saw it I couldn't even see the Taiwan geographical outline...

    The Taiwanese legislature made CI management promise to do something to make their planes less "Chinese', some actually wanted CI to change its name and take China out of it totally. ROC (Taiwan) government still owns about 1/4 of CI shares through the government owned China Aviation Development Foundation. The cargo logo was quite frankly a sop which satisfied no one. The first time i saw it I couldn't even see the Taiwan geographical outline till someone pointed it out! They should ignore the legislators and keep their branding!

  5. iamhere Guest

    Politics aside, it is confusing for many that China Airlines is a Skyteam partner based in Taipei and Air China is the Beijing based carrier in the Star alliance. Most people inadvertently say the wrong thing or don't realize this.

  6. Milo2 Guest

    You may be confused by the livery, but once you fly any Taiwanese airline, you'll realise they are much better than the disgusting and awful ones from the Chinese mainland. There's no comparison!

  7. Gordon Guest

    Mainland China says it can revoke the traffic rights of an airline that is not exactly as per whoever was granted those rights way back when. Of course BA, AF, KL, LH have all rebranded since their initial traffic rights approval so this is just a thin-skinned regime flexing its bully muscles.

  8. Arie Guest

    This isnt a china thing it's a brand thing.
    If they rebrands as Air Canada and put a small map of Taiwan on the plane I bet Air Canada would have issues too, and same goes for any brand that may be mistaken for another.

    And hong kong never ceded its independence. The british lease ran out in 1997, that's it.

    1. Stanley C Gold

      “ And hong kong never ceded its independence. The british lease ran out in 1997, that's it.” Valid point here. It was only a lease.

    2. GSHLGB New Member

      Sadly PRC decided they wouldn't honor their agreement with the U.K.

      Yes it was a lease, but the people of HK had expectations that their live would be normal. not a prison

    3. David Guest

      Why do people keep trying to do revisionist history? Hong Kong and Kowloon was ceded in perpetuity, not 99 years. It is the new territories and outlying islands that has a ticking clock on them, under the original terms.

  9. Mike Guest

    Don't think the problem is related to the name of the province. Actually there is a Taiwanese airline call TigerAir 台灣虎航 (the full translation of their name should be "Taiwan" Tiger Air) and they fly to Macau with no issue.
    The problem is that "China" airlines uses Taiwan map. An exaggerate comparison might be Cyprus flag uses Larnaca dist. map instead.

    1. Also mike Guest

      haha "province". 100% positive ID as another mainland shill. Call it that enough times and it'll become true right?

  10. Johosofat Guest

    It's a little funny that PRC, considering Taiwan a province, would be unhappy if China Airlines was renamed Taiwan Airlines. There are already plenty of airlines in China named after provinces/municipalities/SARs.
    Sichuan Airlines, Tianjin Airlines, Colorful Guizhou Airlines, Hong Kong Airlines, Air Macau, Hebei Airlines, Tibet Airlines, Shandong Airlines, Shanghai Airlines, Chongqing Airlines, the list goes on and on.

    1. Jkjkjk Guest

      Are they trying to do that? Did you read the article?

    2. Levi Member

      Consistently the weirdest thing in cross-Strait relations is that Beijing is far happier with Taipei claiming (or at least not disclaiming) to be the capital of China than they are with Taipei dropping that claim (and implying that Taiwan isn't Chinese).

    3. Johosofat Guest

      Yes I read the article you donut. I also read the previous articles which state:
      "names like Yushan Airlines, Formosa Airlines, and Taiwan Airlines have been proposed"
      https://onemileatatime.com/china-airlines-name-change/
      And
      "There’s fear that renaming the airline may provoke mainland China, especially if the airline is renamed in a way that specifically includes Taiwan."
      https://onemileatatime.com/taiwan-parliament-votes-rename-china-airlines/

  11. derek Guest

    Hawaiian Airlines should be banned from the US mainland using the logic of the People's Republic of China. After all, Hawaii is not independent.

    Ben/Lucky has a sentence that is confusing..."Many assume that China Airlines is based in mainland China, when in fact the airline is based in Taiwan (People’s Republic of China vs. Republic of China)". It would be better written as "...the airline is based in Taiwan (Republic of China vs. People's...."

    Maybe...

    Hawaiian Airlines should be banned from the US mainland using the logic of the People's Republic of China. After all, Hawaii is not independent.

    Ben/Lucky has a sentence that is confusing..."Many assume that China Airlines is based in mainland China, when in fact the airline is based in Taiwan (People’s Republic of China vs. Republic of China)". It would be better written as "...the airline is based in Taiwan (Republic of China vs. People's...."

    Maybe China Airlines should change its name to China Airlines of Formosa. After all, nobody claims that Formosa is a country. However, the People's Republic wouldn't be satisfied.

    The US should adopt a constitutional amendment to allow not only states but a shire. It shouldn't be commonwealth because of confusion with the status of Puerto Rico. Taiwan would become the Shire of Taiwan. A shire would be a country in association with the US but not part of the US. The US could pick and choose when Taiwan is not part of the US, when Taiwan is part of the US, and when mainland China is part of the US!

    1. GSHLGB New Member

      Virginia is a Commonwealth
      Pennsylvania...
      Massachusetts, as well.

      And well Kentucky - they can go

  12. Ric Guest

    What would China do if China Airlines rebranded itself as:
    1) Taiwan Airlines
    2) China Airlines of Taiwan
    3) Dynasty Airlines (dynasty is an affiliate of China Airlines)
    4) Taipei Airlines
    hmm.....

  13. MeiHua Guest

    The People's Republic of China is the only country in the world OBSESSED with everyone thinking all of the territory it claims belongs to it. Before 1997, for example, Hong Kong's Olympic team was just known as "Hong Kong". After the handover, it's now "Hong Kong, China". Let's not forget how China forced airlines around the world to not list Taiwan as a separate country from China in their Countries/Region pages. No other country that...

    The People's Republic of China is the only country in the world OBSESSED with everyone thinking all of the territory it claims belongs to it. Before 1997, for example, Hong Kong's Olympic team was just known as "Hong Kong". After the handover, it's now "Hong Kong, China". Let's not forget how China forced airlines around the world to not list Taiwan as a separate country from China in their Countries/Region pages. No other country that administers territories does that. You don't see "Aruba, Netherlands", "Cook Islands, New Zealand", "Puerto Rico, U.S.A." or "Cayman Islands, Britain".

    1. Ryan Guest

      Simple answer. They are the epitome of LDE.

    2. Nick Guest

      For the ignorant amongst us…What is LDE?

    3. GSHLGB New Member

      little dick energy

  14. Joe Guest

    Absolutetly dictatorial! Taiwan should learn from HKG's mistakes. Never ever surrender your sovereignity, your freedom and your rights! There are other great livery. But more important, the World knows which China is the real democratic country.

    1. Ben L. Guest

      Remind me, when did Hong Kong surrender its sovereignity?

    2. Jkjkjk Guest

      haha joe probably never reads a history book or any book for that matter other than book of freedom and book of rights.

  15. Endre Guest

    The insecurities of a dictatorial regime.

  16. Johosofat Guest

    Air China (the one from mainland China) actually does have a subfleet with a modified livery that operate flights to Taiwan. If you look for photos of Air China planes at Taipei, you'll see they all lack the PRC flag next to the Air China titles, unlike the rest of the fleet.

  17. Mak Guest

    This seems like an idiosyncratic concern until one realizes that roughly half the people in Taiwan also continue to believe that it is part of a single China, and are only slightly less obsessed with continuing that illusion than the PRC.

    1. East2West Member

      It’s still an idiosyncratic and concern.

    2. Mike Guest

      I guess you havent talked to anyone from taiwan. The significant majority identify as taiwanese, and do not want to unify with China.

    3. Leo Guest

      Half would be an exaggeration. Look at the stats:
      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Opinion_polling_on_Taiwanese_identity
      https://www.pewresearch.org/global/2020/05/12/in-taiwan-views-of-mainland-china-mostly-negative/

      It'd be more accurate to say that roughly half support closer ties with China for various economic, social and cultural reasons. Importantly, balancing the needle would mean limiting the risk of war.

  18. Will Guest

    Meanwhile people jumping to their deaths in Shanghai and beginning to starve all in the name of "Zero Covid"

    1. Luke Guest

      And I was just now reading this pro "zero covid" article that says, "Practice has repeatedly shown that the key to winning the battle against the epidemic is to adhere to the general dynamic zero-COVID policy without hesitation". Regarding western countries which started "living with the virus" because of risk on vulnerable people it says "This is a cruel social Darwinism".........So nothing cruel about starving Shanghai residents who will be beaten up if tries to...

      And I was just now reading this pro "zero covid" article that says, "Practice has repeatedly shown that the key to winning the battle against the epidemic is to adhere to the general dynamic zero-COVID policy without hesitation". Regarding western countries which started "living with the virus" because of risk on vulnerable people it says "This is a cruel social Darwinism".........So nothing cruel about starving Shanghai residents who will be beaten up if tries to forage for some food!

      https://www.globaltimes.cn/page/202204/1258972.shtml

    2. Leo Guest

      Shanghai is becoming Xinjiang in 3, 2, ...

  19. Mister Malibu Guest

    This is politics pure and simple! If gov of Taiwan wants to distinguish China Airlines from China, go on and launch a Taiwan Airline and see if big bad China would allow Taiwan Airline entering Chinese airspace. The answer is obvious which is the reason politicians employing tricks like a bunch of five year olds and trying to skirt the bottom line.

  20. OMMAT Reader Guest

    According to the state department website:” In the Joint Communique, the United States recognized the Government of the People’s Republic of China as the sole legal government of China, acknowledging the Chinese position that there is but one China and Taiwan is part of China. ”

    1. Ben Guest

      You do know that that is political legalese right? “Recognize” does not mean support. It’s meant to be ambiguous. It just means the US does not overtly disagree with China’s claims over Taiwan.

    2. Surya N. Member

      You're both just a bit off -- to be precise, the United States acknowledges the PRC position that Taiwan is a part of China, but it does not recognize that claim. The U.S. takes no position on Taiwanese sovereignty. However, the U.S. does recognize that there is only one China.

    1. Jkjkjk Guest

      Really? Western country is even more petty. Banning communism (it is illegal) while claiming for freedom for thought.
      Or how about blue laws? Not able to sell car or alcohol on Sunday? If it’s not pettiest thing, I don’t know what is.

    2. ConcordeBoy Gold

      In what Western country is (1) communism illegal, and (2) has nationwide blue laws?

Featured Comments Most helpful comments ( as chosen by the OMAAT community ).

The comments on this page have not been provided, reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any advertiser, and it is not an advertiser's responsibility to ensure posts and/or questions are answered.

Endre Guest

The insecurities of a dictatorial regime.

5
Milo2 Guest

You may be confused by the livery, but once you fly any Taiwanese airline, you'll realise they are much better than the disgusting and awful ones from the Chinese mainland. There's no comparison!

3
Ben Guest

You do know that that is political legalese right? “Recognize” does not mean support. It’s meant to be ambiguous. It just means the US does not overtly disagree with China’s claims over Taiwan.

3
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