Taiwanese parliament approves plan to rebrand China Airlines

Aviation Updates Philippines – Taiwan's parliament has approved a bill to rebrand national carrier China Airlines (CAL), marking the start of a long process that could potentially result in a name change.

All 64 lawmakers who were present at the parliament meeting on Wednesday (July 22) voted in favor of the proposal. Taiwan's Ministry of Transportation and Communications will now be in charge of coming up with a feasible plan to rebrand the airline in phases.

The proposal, which was first raised in parliament last April, suggests an initial livery redesign that would involve displaying the "China Airlines" name in smaller font and strengthening the image of Taiwan without having to renegotiate or modify the carrier's international air traffic rights.

"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," parliament speaker Yu Shyi-Kun said while reading out the proposal.

Taiwan's legislature also suggested other changes that may be implemented in the long-term, including changing the airline's English translation, renaming it in Chinese, and giving the airline's livery a complete revamp.

The proposal did not specify a timeline for when the rebranding would take place, adding that this matter would still require further discussion.

The China Airlines name has long been a source of confusion to outsiders, leading to numerous debates and a failed attempt to give the Taipei-based carrier a distinct Taiwanese identity.

In 2003, China Airlines unveiled a special livery on one of its Boeing 747 aircraft that displayed the name "Taiwan" in large, rainbow lettering for the "Taiwan Touch Your Heart" campaign, a collaboration between the airline and the Tourism Bureau of Taiwan.

This was, however, strongly opposed by the Chinese government, who later threatened other countries to discourage them from allowing the plane to land in their airports.

The plane was painted back to the original livery before it even left the hangar.

Mainland China (also known as the People's Republic of China), does not consider Taiwan (the Republic of China) as an independent country, but rather as a breakaway province which it vows to retake by force if necessary.

Last April, discussions regarding the airline's name made headlines once again amid reports that special diplomatic missions to deliver medical supplies to countries battling the COVID-19 pandemic using China Airlines planes were being mistakenly believed to be coming from mainland China.

Not long after, it was reported that the airline is considering changing its name.

As of this writing, the airline has yet to issue an official statement regarding this matter.

Photo by Kentaro Iemoto