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Design of Taiwan’s China Airlines sparks debate, again

New design draws criticism from within company

A China Airlines cargo plane. 

A China Airlines cargo plane.  (CNA photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — The design of China Airlines (CAL) planes has again stirred up controversy, with some within the company reportedly voicing opposition to the most recent change.

Democratic Progressive Party Legislator Lin Chu-Yin (林楚茵) on Monday (April 18) asked whether the plan to redesign the exterior of CAL aircraft was met with pushback from the company’s employees. Minister of Transportation and Communications Wang Kwo-tsai (王國材) admitted this was the case, per the Liberty Times.

The legislature passed a resolution in 2020 asking for an overhaul of the design of CAL planes because the name of the company suggests it comes from China, often leaving people bewildered in countries that received medical supplies from Taiwan delivered by the aircraft.

According to Wang, there has been opposition from senior staff, and a design introduced in late 2020 for the company's Boeing 777s raised eyebrows in some quarters. The design features an enlarged “C” encircling Taiwan's main island, but China has banned planes bearing this image, and some say it looks like “China enveloping Taiwan,” per CNA.

While a facelift is still in the works, Wang said the goal for now is to avoid confusion, and a name change should be pursued as a long-term objective. Aircraft carrying the new image will fly European and U.S. routes, and planes delivered in the future will bear a less conspicuous “China Airlines,” he added.

Last month, over 50 Taiwanese civil groups signed a petition urging against using CAL planes to deliver humanitarian relief to Ukraine. The organizations advised that such missions be carried out by EVA Air, the nation's other major carrier, to avoid misunderstanding.