Taiwan’s China Airlines (CAL) may change its name according to a report from “the other China.”
Taiwan News reports that the Ministry of Transportation and Communications (MOTC) said it would be open to renaming the airline.
Ever since CAL was founded many years ago there has been endless confusion by passengers and the media over China Airlines (the national airline of Taiwan) and Air China (the national airline of mainland China) and this persists even today.
Lin Chia-lung, Taiwan’s Minister of Transport and Communications, stated that he had an “open mind” about the name change.
However he also said a name change is a major decision which would involve aviation rights and routes.”
New names have been proposed such as “Formosa Airlines” or “Taiwan Airlines.”
However even a minor change can present issues. I always remember the negotiations which today’s Swiss had to endure when it wished to absorb the routes operated by the former Swissair.
Readers with long memories will know the time when CAL was restricted to where it could fly internationally.
The Japanese were so sensitive they would allow CAL to operate internationally from Tokyo Haneda (at a time when no foreign carriers could use Haneda) whereas Air China would operate at Narita. The idea being that neither airline would see one another when in Tokyo.
Here in Europe almost all countries, including the UK, denied landing rights to CAL in case it upset the Beijing government.
The situation changed from the beginning of 1990s when CAL’s rival, Eva Air, appeared on the scene.
Eva Air used a neutral livery whereas that of CAL was nationalistic.
Later that prompted CAL to adopt its current ‘plum blossom’ livery which is also neutral.
As a result both carriers expanded to serve more countries including, of course, the UK.