Photo: KCS

MIAMI – After 61 years under the name China Airlines (CI), the Taiwanese parliament approved a bill to change the name of the Taipei-based airline.

Since early 2020, the Ministry of Transportation and Communications in Taiwan have said they were “open-minded” about a possible name change.

This would certainly avoid confusion between the carrier and other mainland Chinese airlines like Air China, China Southern, and China Eastern.

Photo: Luca Flores

Reason for The Name Change

The main reason for the name change is patriotic. The aim is to have the airline be more Taiwanese. Currently, foreigners commonly see it as a Chinese airline.

For this reason, possible candidates for the new name include “Formosa Airlines” or “Taiwan Airlines,” although none of these has been confirmed.

Parliament Speaker Yu Shyi-kun says, “The ministry should make CAL [China Airlines] more identifiable internationally, with Taiwanese images to protect Taiwan’s national interests.”

Photo: Hiro Nishikura

Changing an Airline’s Name

Although changing a name might not seem like much, it is a complicated matter.

According to Minister of Transportation and Communications Lin Chia-Lung, “A name change is a major decision which would involve aviation rights and routes.”

China Airlines A350-900-MSN239 take off. Photo China Airlines.

Will China Backlash?

The name change is also somewhat of a political move. The People’s Republic of China has had its history of tensions with the island. It may or may not be happy with the rebranding and removal of “China” in the name.

Still, as a result of the decision, backlash, and anger from the Chinese government could come.

Now that parliament has approved the rebranding, the Transport Ministry will come up with long and short-term CI rebranding plans.

Currently, there is no timeline for the release of the new name for the Taiwanese airline.