Taiwan Parliament Votes To Rename China Airlines

Filed Under: China Airlines

It looks like China Airlines could indeed soon be rebranded…

Controversy & confusion surrounding China Airlines’ name

Back in April I wrote about how a name change was under consideration for China Airlines.

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 confusion, in particular in recent months given the coronavirus pandemic. For example, many thought that repatriation and aid flights operated by China Airlines were in connection with mainland China. Heck, recently an attack ad against Joe Biden incorrectly showed a China Airlines plane when talking about the China travel ban.

In April, Taiwan’s Ministry of Transportation and Communications indicated it was “open minded” towards changing the airline’s name, and that has now been taken a step further.

There’s controversy surrounding China Airlines’ name

Taiwan Parliament votes to rename China Airlines

Taiwan’s Parliament has passed a proposal today to rebrand China Airlines. With the passing of this bill, the Transport Ministry has been asked to come up with both short and long-term rebranding plans for the carrier. However, no timeline has been set for when the airline should be renamed, as further discussion is required regarding that.

As Parliament Speaker Yu Shyi-kun said in regards to the bill passing:

“The ministry should make CAL more identifiable internationally with Taiwanese images to protect Taiwan’s national interests as overseas it is mistaken for a Chinese airline.”

There’s fear that renaming the airline may provoke mainland China, especially if the airline is renamed in a way that specifically includes Taiwan.

Taiwan’s Parliament has voted to rename China Airlines

Bottom line

While there has been talk for years about China Airlines potentially changing its name, this has gotten further along this time around than ever before. Taiwan’s parliament has voted in favor of this, though no definitive timeline has been provided for this change.

I think it’s safe to say that Beijing wouldn’t be too pleased with this change, especially given the complicated relationship with Taiwan.

Still, could we soon see China Airlines renamed as Taiwan Airlines (or something along those lines)?

Do you think China Airlines will actually be rebranded, or is this just optimistic talk?

Comments
  1. First time I heard an airline needing parliamentary approval to rename itself. They’ll have to tread carefully, of course. If they rebrand as “Taiwan Airlines”, they risk provoking Beijing and Beijing could easily retaliate by banning all Taiwanese airlines from their airspace. Bye bye mainland China & Europe flights.

    It’ll probably be something more subtle, like Taipei Airlines, Hibiscus Airlines, Blossom Airlines, whatever. How much will this cost them, I wonder?

  2. EVA stands for evergreen airlines so I think they may rename China Airlines after its flower logo plum blossom.

  3. Or Mandarin Airlines ( they own that name , having used it to start direct flights with Australia about 30 years ago; the bully-boys in Beijing wouldn’t allow them or QANTAS to fly under their own names; QF has to use Australia-Asia Airways).
    They should rebrand IMO; the more subtle ‘distance’ they put between themselves and the CCP freak-show, the better.

  4. On more important news, a poster on flyertalk mentioned that Korean Air has zeroed out First Class on all 747 and 777 flights between now and 2021. I wonder if this means that Korean Air will be discontinuing First Class on all routes except operated by A380.

  5. On more important news, a poster on flyertalk mentioned that Korean Air has zeroed out First Class on all 747 and 777 flights between now and 2021. I wonder if this means that Korean Air will be discontinuing First Class on all routes except operated by A380.

  6. I’d like to see it branded as Republic of China Air Lines, but that might be even more provocative than including Taiwan in the name. I expect it to be Taipei Airlines or something similar.

  7. “Or Mandarin Airlines ( they own that name , having used it to start direct flights with Australia about 30 years ago; the bully-boys in Beijing wouldn’t allow them or QANTAS to fly under their own names; QF has to use Australia-Asia Airways).”

    @Paolo, I remember when that was the case (at least the Australia-Asia Airways part), but more recently they have been using their own brands. No QF metal between Australia and Taipei, they code share with China Airlines (and have FF links). I looked them up shortly after Ben posted this thread, and they still own, and apparently use, Mandarin on domestic and some other routes..

  8. Any name with “China” in it, is a negative. Red China has a horrible record on human rights in Hong Kong and they torture muslims. Although i have been to China, I will never go there again. However, I will go to Taiwan again. It is a wonderful country. To me, if an airline has the word “china” in it, it’s the same as having the word Nazi in it.

  9. @Paolo Qantas only needed that whilst they were government owned, since they were privatised there isn’t any issue for that. Unsure if you meant past tense used to use it, or whether you thought they still did

  10. If anything, Air China should be rebranded as “Air West Taiwan,” along Taiwan Eastern, and Taiwan Southern. 😉

  11. “KLM Royal Dutch Airlines”
    So China Airlines could be “CAL Formosa Airlines”
    Or “CAL Taipei Airlines”

  12. @David the other unfortunate thing with the KAL zeroed out F space is that many of us are still stuck with Skypass points that are set to be devalued in early 2021, and I’ve heard from Korean themselves that they’re not going to push back the deval date. It would be nice if some of the bloggers would use their bully pulpit a bit on this to push KAL to do the right thing…

  13. @Mike C @Callum
    Yes, I meant past; my error.
    I went on the first or second flight on Australia-Asia. It was great news, because no need to go via Hong Kong on Cathay , or Manila on PAL. I’m guessing 1991.

  14. Mandarin, Plum Blossom ,Formosa Plum would be suitable but changing Brands is extremely expensive and requires a pretty extensive Ad Campaign in areas Outside the Region let alone within. Easiest would Retain the Current Livery/Tail and just Change the Wordmark which All three of My suggested Rebrands would address.

  15. For those rooting on provocation, I just hope that you also will also urge US to stand behind Taiwan if China gets aggressive with it.

    As much as I want them to be independent I’m not deluding myself in thinking if China did send in troops we would not be looking at another Russia-Crimea with the rest of the world looking on.

  16. Hi Ben, you were misled by the news. The Parliament voted to “strengthen” the identification of Taiwan on the fleets of China airlines. The proposal was not to rebrand/change the name of airlines. The government used misleading terms to trick but you could ask mandarin speaker to review the proposal and confirm what I said.

  17. @Pete

    My amateur opinion is that since USA just sold Taiwan $8b worth of Block 70 F-16s and the support with it, that there would be more support. (Yes I know CCP still vastly overpowers Taiwan’s military but I am just stating evidence of defense support)
    Not the same as HK, since HK is still literally part of China.
    Not the same as Crimea, since Crimea is virtually insignificant compared to Taiwan as far as foreign interests go.
    Again. my opinion on this.

  18. @Timothy

    The proposal does include requesting a plan to rename China Airlines. I verified the original Chinese website myself at ly.gov.tw

  19. Well, perhaps they can use the word “Cathay” to replace “China,” and kept their name in Chinese. They mean the same thing, and it would not be confused with Communist China.

  20. Excellent move to change the airline name as the world China represents a ruthless, repressive communist regime that is committing atrocities and horrendous human rights violations in Hong Kong and other regions in the mainland where minorities live. GOOD JOB TAIWAN – A TRULY DEMOCRATIC, FREEDOM LOVING COUNTRY. I LOVE VISITING TAIWAN. NO MORE TRAVELING TO COMMUNIST CHINA UNLESS THERE IS A REGIME CHANGE.

  21. I vote for MIT Air. Perfect for the moms still hoping their kids can get into Mass Inst of Technology.

  22. Just look at the ugly hatred in some of you posts. Totally hypocritical being a racist spreading judgemental nonsense while full of human rights and justice. Ask Snowden, Assange, Iraqis, Syrians, prisoners in Guantanamo and the black people in your home country (and the list goes on and on) for a second opinion before bragging about human rights and freedom. Shame on you.

  23. @Pete
    Yeah…the best one could hope for would be continual guerrilla warfare after the initial invasion Afghanistan style.

    @Jan
    Unfortunately it is wishful thinking, 8B is a drop in the bucket, the US just gave out 2.3T in aide domestically, so yeah, I don’t think the US or anyone else will do anything except pound the table at the UN and pass resolutions that go nowhere because China and Russia will veto it in the Security Council. Maybe sanctions, but a totalitarian regime like China doesn’t give a crap if their citizens starve as long as their military is happy and still loyal.

  24. “ Taiwan (People’s Republic of China vs. Republic of China)”

    Taiwan is Republic China,

    Mainland China is People’s Republic of China vs. Republic of China

    Think you have a typo Lucky

  25. “ Taiwan (People’s Republic of China vs. Republic of China)”

    Taiwan is Republic China,

    Mainland China is People’s Republic of China

    Think you have a typo Lucky

  26. Taiwan is China without the cultural revolution, The Great Leap Forward, repression, millions of dead, brutes and pollution. A beautiful, clean, organised and courteous society with democracy & human rights.

  27. I am for the name change. Call it Formosa Airlines. Formosa means “Beautiful Island”
    Johnny

  28. @Wilhelm

    Ok, there is no need to glorify Taiwan THAT much. They also had their own dark period (look up Taiwan White Terror), but yes they are now much better than the mainlands. At the very least, Taiwan is not afraid to look back at its own history and learn lessons from it, while China still censors their own blunders.

  29. Rarely have I seen such ignorance displayed by nativist Americans, No wonder your country is heading down hill.

  30. They should contact the entity that owns the name and logo for Trans World Airlines, TWA. The “T” could stand for either Trans or Taiwan.
    To be really clever, they could call themselves “Trans World Airlines – Taiwan”.

  31. This is exactly what Taiwan needs to do. Taiwan is a sovereign country. China has no right whatsoever over Taiwan.

  32. Taiwan should rebrand its airline’s name and distance itself from communist china. The Taiwanese are the true liberal and democratic chinese. The world knows that. It is time the Taiwanese should be acknowledge and be differentiated to mainland china. Whatever the new name will be, it will a be huge slap on the CCP’s face as Taiwan is an independent country and it no longer needs the name china to be different and inorder to evolve!

  33. Suggested name of airline =
    pànwàng airlines

    Meaning = to trust, to expect
    An extension of = To Hope

  34. Wow it’s great to see so many “human repeaters” capable of repeating whatever “mainstream news outlets” brainwash them… US used to have people with ability to think independently but now it seems Americans are even more brainwashed compared to modern day Chinese citizens…

    It wasn’t long ago when western countries invading Asian countries asking them to open up for trade. It’s shocking to see nowadays everything’s turned around. The good thing is, at least a lot of people still believe they will stay on the moral high ground forever…

    How the world has turned…

  35. Ryan – “Maybe sanctions, but a totalitarian regime like China doesn’t give a crap if their citizens starve as long as their military is happy and still loyal.”

    You severely underestimate how much power in modern China relies on the consent of the people, who have effectively traded freedom for prosperity. Take away that prosperity and China will certainly collapse. The trouble is that taking away that prosperity is very difficult.

  36. Taiwan Airlines would make good commercial sense. The ideological claptrap expressed here is mere background noise.

  37. Yes, “DYNASTY” is the way to go.

    Already established callsign, as what Joe said above.

    “Taiwan is China without the cultural revolution, The Great Leap Forward, repression, millions of dead, brutes and pollution. A beautiful, clean, organized and courteous society with democracy & human rights.”

    Thank you @Wilhelm

  38. https://www.dw.com/zh/中华航空引误会-台湾通过华航更名决议案/a-54260645

    It is a proposal passed by legislative to RECOMMEND the transport department to come up with a proposal to implement name change in stages. But the proposal does not legally enforce the government to do this.

    I think at the moment, re-branding would be better than name change, as this will cost too much for China Airlines. Re-branding as CAL Taipei or CAL Taiwan or CAL Pacific or CAL International (CI), would be easy.

  39. Interestingly, it is not just China Airlines, but a large number of Companies worldwide, having their names associated with China, are now actively trying to disassociate their names/brands with ‘China’, in an effort of avoid the global resistance and stigmatization associated recently with anything Chinese. The largest Chinese restaurant brand in India, called Mainland China is currently triyng to re-brand itself as Mainland ‘Asia’. Perceptions go a long way to the success of any business. I wonder whether the Chinese are even bothered about what the world is thinking of them.

  40. I would like to see “Boba Airlines” since boba tea is from Taiwan. Unlimited boba drinks… just think how epic that would be, unless your lactose intolerant.

  41. @Prince and the revolution
    It wouldn’t be a good strategy to send the customers on a pathway to obesity, disease and an early grave….

  42. @Saibal Chatterjee: Interesting to hear about Mainland Asia. 🙂

    India and China do have a history, of course. I once met a Japanese diplomat who had been posted in India in the 60’s. As a new arrival, he was pleasantly surprised to discover that there seemed to be unexpectedly many Japanese restaurants in Delhi (e.g., Ginza in Connaught Place, still there). Turned out that these were Chinese restaurants that had changed their names in a hurry after the earlier India-China conflict.

  43. @Saibal Chatterjee

    China’s probably about as bothered by what the world thinks of them as the US is bothered by its foreign critics.

    Similarly, I imagine its citizens are about as informed or engaged about the realities of international politics as American citizens are.

    i.e., No one cares, and those who do don’t realize how biased their opinions are.

  44. “I vote for MIT Air. Perfect for the moms still hoping their kids can get into Mass Inst of Technology.”

    @SinoSoul: I’ve also heard that MIT stands for “Made In Taiwan”, as this acronym is popularly known by the populace there

  45. Really?

    I know that Taiwanese when speaking Mandarin, never refer to themselves as Taiwanese. Instead, they are Chinese from China (ambiguous). Taiwan just litertally means “outlying bay”. It has no historical meaning or context. Plus unlike Hong Kongers, they’re too culturally connected to Chinese culture to ever leave it. Even throughout the occupation, Japan tried geting them to call themselves Japanese but to no avail.

    Don’t confuse Taiwan with HK. They don’t possess the hate that HKers have, for years they have grown to realize that they’re a teamplayer and should use it to their advantage.

    I’d advise you guys in the West to avoid worse case scenarios and world ending solutions. Asia has ruled the world long before the new world ever came to being. Japan Korea China have literally been neighnbors for 3000 yrs.

    I believe Beijing has already, with Tigerair Taiwan, demonstrated that they have no problems with Taiwan wanting to do whatever they wanted as long as they stop threatening to secede.

    If they go for Taiwan Airlines, then they’ll be subsumed into Air China group who’s being trigger happy with Beijing AIrlines Dalian Airlines, Shandong Airlines, Shenzhen Airlines, Tibet Airlines and now Taiwan Airlines. Though without the reputation, Shenzhen Airlines is Star Alliance’s biggest airline by passengers carried.
    Taiwan AIrlines makes sense, because Taiwan Aiirlines would be presumably TI, which is directly ooposite to IT, with Tigerair Taiwan.
    Beijing has also enticed them with the Kinmen Airlines-Taiwan VietJet Air deal at Xiamen XIang’an. So theat’ll be fun.

    I have no doubt, that China is inviting Taiwan to be involved in a way that Taiwan couldn’t say no to… by revitalizing the old ports of old (Amoy, Whampoa), as a replacement for Hong Kong and Macau.

    I don’t see how both can be expanded without fundamentally chanigng what they are.

  46. @Pete @Jan @Ryan

    Rumor has it that legislation is being worked on in US Congress to augment beyond the Taiwan Relations Act with something more akin to a Mutual Defense Treaty (similar to what is already in place with Japan and South Korea), so if that becomes law should Trump sign it, then this whole situation becomes radically modified with respect to US engagement against any China attempts to attack Taiwan.

  47. @Dominic Yeo

    So you’re assuming that Taiwan wants to get “assimilated” into China, based on your projection that “If they go for Taiwan Airlines, then they’ll be subsumed into Air China group”? How did you arrive at this grand assumption?

  48. Given the implications that a name change can have regarding traffic rights and other aeropolitical and regulatory domains, as well as the financial cost of a rebranding on the purely commercial side, I think this is about the worst time for such a decision.

    Yet, since CI is more closely linked to the Taiwanese government than BR, I can imagine that it would indeed be tackled at some point. It’s not only a management decision but also a political one. Nevertheless, I don’t see it coming within the next 2-3 years before the aviation industry is healthy again.

  49. Ben / Lucky,
    I don’t think you should have posts like this and I think you should stick to points and miles. Too much politics in this one. Think about things more before you post them.

  50. Or perhaps Chunghwa Airlines, just like Chunghwa Post or Chunghwa Telecom. They could avoid changing their Chinese name by doing this.

  51. @iamhere…. I totally agree with you.
    When Ben ( Lucky ) threw out there the question ” what do you guys think” re. China Airlines name change , he knew EXACTLY what he was doing. That this would create a barrage, a tsunami of number of replies all be it highly political in tone . I often wonder if there is some sort of ” number of replies meter” in this blogs set up with the server/provider that puts OMAAT on the internet and therefor the higher the meter readings of replies the more interesting to the companies that finance Ben’s plugs for various travel/hotel credit cards. Just saying. ( But I still absolutely adore Winston)

  52. I think changing the name is good idea and that’s how it should be. Because Taiwan would be even more independent. Taiwan is already independent, but by changing the airlines name is a step further of Taiwan not be Republic Of China, to be Taiwan.

  53. i think China airlines should adopt strategies similar to Cathay Pacific and Cathay Dragon. The mainline (mainly longhaul) business should adopt a new name, such as Taipei Airlines (or whatever that distinguish it from China), while the regional (to China, Hong Kong/Macau, and some Southeast Asian Countries, which requires flying over China airspace) should remain as China Airlines, to avoid backlash from CCP.

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