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China Airlines: Taiwan Airlines could be a thing

China Airlines: Taiwan Airlines could be a thing

The Taiwanese Parliament this week passed a bill that will allow the renaming of Taiwan based China Airlines. They want to make it:

‘more identifiable internationally with Taiwanese images to protect Taiwan’s national interests, as overseas it is mistaken for a Chinese airline.’

Background

OK, for those not familiar with the whole ‘what is China?’ debate, let me explain.

Taiwan is an island off the coast of mainland China, where the Kuomintang (KMT) – that’s the political party that lost mainland China to the Communist Party of Mao Tse Dung in 1949 – retreated to once they were defeated.

Since then it has been locked in a real and imagined battle with mainland China over who belongs to what. Taiwan claims independence, and China says, no, actually you are/should be part China proper. It all depends on whether ‘Republic’ is preceeded with ‘People’s’ or not:

  • Republic of China = Taiwan
  • People’s Republic of China = ‘mainland’ China

Airlines – China Airlines v Air China

So, if you thought that was confusing, let’s move to the Airlines. China Airlines, is a Taiwanese airline. Whereas Air China is the airline of ‘mainland’ China. Confused? You are not the only one.

Because everyone gets confused, and Taiwan wants to make a bit of a statement about its independence, but not too big of a statement, because that will only annoy the dragon, and that never ends well, especially when ‘mainland’ China seems currently to be taking on a bit of an imperialist tone when addressing the rest of the world. Anyway I digress. The point is that the public don’ know that China Airlines is actually a Taiwanese airline.

What’s in a name?

Wars have been fought about less.

Well if you are China, there is quite a lot of meaning involved in a name. China Airlines (that’s the Taiwanese airline) hasn’t decided on a new name, because it doesn’t want to inflame the powers that be in ‘mainland’ China. ‘Taiwan Airlines’, would be seen as too much of a provocation, almost like an act of independence, since (mainland) China regards Taiwan as still part of China. Whereas something like ‘China Taiwan Airlines’ might be seen as too compromising by the people of Taiwan, who (within tight limits) want to be identified as separate from (mainland) China.

Hand it over to the branding department for someone to walk that political tightrope. Maybe they can finely balance everyone’s needs with some combination of image, logo, colour, Chinese characters, English translation and strap line?

2PAXfly Takeout

China Airlines is worth watching as they have lots of lovely brand newish A350 planes, and what looks like in pictures to be a very captivating business class – although reviewers are not always complimentary about the firmness of the seat/bed.

Before this whole Pandemic thing, they also used to offer rather captivating fares under AU$5,000, and sometimes closer to AU$4,000 fares for business class between Sydney and London, via Taipei (the capital of Taiwan). Other than the seat, they get well reviewed. Again before this whole COVID-19 thing, they were near the top of my list to review.

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