China Airlines

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China Airlines Co., Ltd.
China Airlines Logo.gif
Founded16 December 1959
Focus cities
Frequent-flyer programDynasty Flyer
Airport loungeDynasty Lounge

Mandarin Airlines (100%)

Tigerair Taiwan (90%)
Fleet size77
Destinations112(incl. cargo)
Company sloganJourney with a caring smile
Parent companyChina Airlines Group
HeadquartersCAL Park, Dayuan, Taoyuan, Taiwan
Key people
  • Hung-Hsiang Sun (Chairman)[1]
  • Samuel P. Lin (President)[1]
RevenueIncrease NTD132.609 billion (2012)[2]
Net incomeIncrease NTD 0.343 billion (2012)[2]
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China Airlines Co., Ltd.
China Airlines Logo.gif
Founded16 December 1959
Focus cities
Frequent-flyer programDynasty Flyer
Airport loungeDynasty Lounge

Mandarin Airlines (100%)

Tigerair Taiwan (90%)
Fleet size77
Destinations112(incl. cargo)
Company sloganJourney with a caring smile
Parent companyChina Airlines Group
HeadquartersCAL Park, Dayuan, Taoyuan, Taiwan
Key people
  • Hung-Hsiang Sun (Chairman)[1]
  • Samuel P. Lin (President)[1]
RevenueIncrease NTD132.609 billion (2012)[2]
Net incomeIncrease NTD 0.343 billion (2012)[2]
CAL Park, the company's headquarters in Dayuan, Taoyuan

China Airlines (CAL) (Chinese: 中華航空公司; traditional Chinese: 中華航空公司; pinyin: Zhōnghuá Hángkōng gōngsī, commonly abbreviated as Huáháng (Chinese: 華航; traditional Chinese: 華航; )) (TWSE: 2610) is the largest airline in Taiwan. It is headquartered in Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport. Although not directly state-owned, the airline is owned by China Airlines Group, which is owned by the China Aviation Development Foundation (Chinese: 中華航空事業發展基金會; traditional Chinese: 中華航空事業發展基金會; pinyin: Zhōnghuá Hángkōngshìyè Fāzhǎn Jījīnhuì), which is in turn owned by the Taiwanese government.

The airline operates flights to Asia, Europe, North America and Oceania. China Airlines has a strong presence in the Southeast Asia, East Asia, and Northeast Asia. The Hong Kong route is the airline's most profitable market with hundreds of flights flown a week between Hong Kong and 4 cities in Taiwan, including Taipei (Taoyuan), Taichung, Tainan, and Kaohsiung.[3]

China Airlines' wholly owned subsidiary, Mandarin Airlines, manages domestic flights and regional flights to secondary cities with smaller capacity requirements. China Airlines Cargo operates CAL's fleet of cargo aircraft, and manages the cargo-hold capacity in CAL's passenger aircraft. Tigerair Taiwan is a planned low-cost carrier, formed as a joint venture between China Airlines and Singaporean Tigerair, and is set to start operations in 2014.[4]


Formation and early years (1959-1995)[edit]

China Airlines Boeing 727-109C at Singapore Airport in 1974
China Airlines (CAL) McDonnell Douglas MD-11

With a fleet of two PBY Amphibians, China Airlines was established on December 16, 1959,[5] with its shares completely held by the Republic of China government.[citation needed] It was founded by a retired air force officer[citation needed] and initially concentrated on charter flights. During the 1960s, China Airlines was able to establish its first scheduled routes. In October 1962, a flight from Taipei to Hualien became the airline's first domestic service.[6] Later, with the introduction of Caravelle and Boeing 727-100s,the airlines introduced international flights to South Vietnam, Hong Kong, and Japan.[6] With the airlines' first two Boeing 707 aircraft,trans-Pacific flights to San Francisco via Tokyo were initiated on February 2, 1970. The expansion of the company's 707 fleet also permitted more services in Southeast Asia, Northeast Asia, and North America (via Japan and Hawaii).[citation needed]

The China Airlines Taipei Branch Office and the former China Airlines headquarters in Songshan District, Taipei

Following the standard utilization of the wide-body 747 on the highly profitable Trans Pacific - USA routes, China Airlines introduced its first two 747-100s (ex-Delta Airlines aircraft) in 1976 and immediately placed it on its Hong Kong-Taipei-Tokyo-Honolulu-Los Angeles route. Shortly thereafter, four brand new Boeing 747SP (Special Performance) were introduced in 1977. Due to political pressure, Japan ended its diplomatic ties with Taiwan in 1972, and all flights between Taiwan and Japan were stopped. The 747SP aircraft made it possible for China Airlines to fly daily nonstop services from Taipei to its North American destinations without stopping over in Japan. It also allowed the airlines to introduce flights to Saudi Arabia and South Africa. In 1979, the airlines switched all operations from the small downtown Songshan International Airport to the newly built Chiang Kai-shek International Airport (current Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport). Following the introduction of 747-200s, the airlines introduced its first European destination, Amsterdam.

In 1978, Japan allowed China Airlines to return to Tokyo International Airport at Haneda after relocating all other airlines at the New Tokyo International Airport at Narita, leaving China Airlines as the sole international operator at Haneda, which at the time was an exclusive domestic facility. The premise being that air carriers from the PRC and Taiwan were prevented crossing paths at any Japanese airports. Thus CAL's Osaka service, due to the city's only airport at Itami, would not be reinstated until years later. Oddly enough, the crossing of flag-carriers (Taiwan based-airlines and Mainland China PRC based-airlines) occurred almost hourly at then British-controlled Hong Kong's Kaitak International Airport. Adversely, other regional airports such as Bangkok, Singapore and Manila were entirely spared of this indignity imposed on Japan by China.

The next 20 years saw sporadic but far-reaching growth for the company. Later, the airline inaugurated its own round-the-world flight: (Taipei-Anchorage-New York-Amsterdam-Dubai-Taipei).[citation needed] 1993 saw China Airlines listed on the Taiwan Stock Exchange. Later CAL would place one of the largest orders for the newest Boeing 747. The new 747s and an earlier an order with Airbus for over a dozen A300B4 wide body regional jets allowed for addition destination growth.

Change of logo and livery (1995-2010)[edit]

A Boeing 747-400 in CAL's initial livery, with the ROC flag

As the flag carrier for the Republic of China, China Airlines has been affected by disputes over the political status of Taiwan, and under pressure from the People's Republic of China was barred from flying into a number of countries maintaining diplomatic relations with the PRC. As a result, in the mid-1990s, China Airlines subsidiary Mandarin Airlines took over some of its Sydney and Vancouver international routes. Partly as a way to avoid the international controversy, in 1995 China Airlines unveiled its "plum blossom" logo,[6] replacing the national flag, which had previously appeared on the tail fins (empennage), and the aircraft livery from the red-white-blue national colors on the fuselage of its aircraft.[citation needed] Plum blossom (Prunus mume) is the National Flower of the Republic of China.

Throughout the 1990s, the airline employed many ex-ROC Air Force pilots. Due to the company's poor safety record in the 1990s, China Airlines began to change its pilot recruitment practices and the company began to actively recruit civilian-trained pilots with proven track records. In addition, the company began recruiting university graduates as trainees in its own pilot training program. The company also modified its maintenance and operational procedures. These decisions were instrumental in the company's improved safety record, culminating in the company's recognition by the IATA Operational Safety Audit (IOSA).[7]

During the 1990s and early 2000s, China Airlines placed orders for various airliners including the A330, A340, Boeing 737-800, and the Boeing 747-400 (Both the passenger and freighter version).

Due to improving cross-strait relations, the first cross-strait charter flights between Taiwan and China were introduced in 2003, with China Airlines' flight 585, operated by a Boeing 747-400, being the first Taiwanese flight to legally land in China. (The aircraft took off from Taoyuan Airport, stopped over at Hong Kong Airport, and landed at Shanghai Pudong Airport.) In 2005, the first nonstop cross-strait charter flights were initiated, with China Airlines' flight 581 (Taoyuan Airport to Beijing Capital Airport) being the first flight of the program to depart from Taiwan. In 2008, the first regular weekend charter flights between Taiwan and China started operating, with daily charter flights introduced later in the year. In 2009, regularly scheduled cross-strait flights were finally introduced.

Our strategic target is to continuously strengthen profitability and boost our competitiveness among international carriers.

—Philip Wei (魏幸雄 Wèi Xìngxióng), Former Chairman of China Airlines[8]

SkyTeam (2010-present)[edit]

China Airlines Boeing 747-400 taxiing at Hong Kong International Airport.

China Airlines signed an agreement to begin the process of joining the SkyTeam airline alliance on September 14, 2010[9][10] and officially became a full member on September 28, 2011.[11] This was marked by an update to the logo of the airline and the typeface in which "China Airlines" is printed.

China Airlines announced its intention of increasing the size of its fleet to more than 100 aircraft within at most 10 years. While ordering Airbus A350-900s and Boeing 777-300ERs for its long term strategies, the airlines also leased various Airbus A330-300s and Boeing 737-800s to meet short term demands. The airline is planning on ordering 20-25 narrow-body aircraft for itself and another 8 or more for its subsidiary Mandarin Airlines. Types in consideration include the Boeing 737MAX and Airbus A320neo.[12]

In December 2013, China Airlines announced its new joint venture with Singaporean low cost carrier Tigerair to establish Tigerair Taiwan, one of the first Taiwan-based LCCs. The new airlines is planned to start operations in 2014 with 3 Airbus A320s. China Airlines will hold a 90 percent share in the new carrier, while Tigerair will hold the other 10 percent.[4]


Livery and uniforms[edit]

China Airlines' original livery prior to 1995 was a livery with the Republic of China Flag printed on the tail. It changed its livery since the Chinese mainland government prohibits any aircraft flying with the Republic of China Flag displayed to land in the mainland, Hong Kong and Macau; and pressured other countries to do so too. Under political pressure, China Airlines changed its livery to the present 'plum blossom' paint scheme.

China Airlines has had many uniforms since its 1959 debut. China Airlines' uniform was changed in 2007 to celebrate its 47th anniversary.

China Airlines A330 in Singapore (2011)

Marketing slogans[edit]

China Airlines has used different slogans throughout its operational history. In 2006, a second slogan was introduced to complement the new uniforms and to celebrate the 47th anniversary. China Airlines' slogans have been as follows:


China Airlines destinations.
  China Airlines destinations (some served by passenger and cargo flights)
  China Airlines pure Cargo destinations

Most of China Airlines' flights originate out of Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport, its main hub near Taipei, Taiwan. At Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport, China Airlines' flight operations are in Terminal 1 and 2. China Airlines' regional flights as well as European flights, are mainly concentrated in Terminal 1. Its long-haul flights, especially American, and Australian, are mainly concentrated in Terminal 2. Additionally, China Airlines and its domestic subsidiary Mandarin Airlines operate numerous flights out of Kaohsiung International Airport and Taipei Songshan Airport. China Airlines' focus cities outside Taiwan are mainly Bangkok's Suvarnabhumi Airport, Hong Kong's Hong Kong International Airport, and Osaka's Kansai International Airport.

Through the mid-2000s, China Airlines' route network was affected by the political status of Taiwan, which has historically limited access for Taiwanese airlines to Europe and certain Asian countries. Because Taiwanese carriers did not have direct access to China, China Airlines used Hong Kong as its interline destination. China Airlines started to operate regular charter flights to China in 2008. The airline began regularly scheduled, direct cross-strait operations in December 2008, following the restoration of direct travel links.

China Airlines now serves 110 destinations in 29 countries and territories (including cargo) on four continents, with a well-developed Asian network.

Codeshare agreements[edit]

China Airlines has codeshare agreements with the following airlines:

In addition, China Airlines has a codeshare agreement with Deutsche Bahn.

Interline agreements[edit]

China Airlines has interline agreements with the following airlines:


The China Airlines fleet consists of the following aircraft with an average age of 10.1 years (as of 21 March 2014).[5][15]

China Airlines passenger fleet
AircraftIn serviceOrders
Airbus A330-300121036277313Deliveries in 2014
Airbus A340-300630246276Being replaced by B777-300ER from 2014
and A350-900 from 2016
Airbus A350-90014 (+6)36291327Deliveries from 2016 to 2018
Boeing 737-8001428150158Leased from Avolon
Deliveries from March 2014
Boeing 747-400
401249314375Version 3
6070319389Version 4 (Refurbished)
31249319380Version 5 (Refurbished)
Boeing 777-300ER010(+4)350+ in a 3-class configuration [16]Deliveries from Sept. 2014 to 2016
Including 4 to be leased from GECAS
(EIS: 3 in 2014, 5 in 2015, 2 in 2016)
China Airlines cargo fleet
Boeing 747-400F21
3 stored
Total7727 (+10)

Special liveries[edit]

China Airlines Boeing 737-800 in 50 years anniversary Livery at Yangon International Airport
China Airlines Airbus A340-300 in The Official Airline for Climate Monitoring Livery at Soekarno Hatta International Airport

China Airlines' first special livery was introduced in 2003 with the design originating from the theme of "Taiwan Touch Your Heart". The project was in collaboration with the Tourism Bureau of Taiwan in order to promote tourism to Taiwan. However, the plane was painted back to the normal livery before it left the hangar.[17]

In 2009, China Airlines printed a 50 years anniversary icon on one plane of each of its plane type: A330, A340, 737, 747, and 747F.

Current China Airlines special liveries are shown below:

The following are China Airlines' retired special liveries:

Fleet plans[edit]

The airline is undergoing a fleet renewal and simplification program. On December 11, 2007, China Airlines signed a letter of intent to purchase 20 Airbus A350-900s to replace their fleet of Airbus A340s, and the order was confirmed on January 22, 2008. The Airbus A350 will offer 2-class (Business and Economy) service with 327 seats, with the business class offering fully lie-flat beds.[18]

The airlines has been leasing various Airbus A330s and Boeing 737-800s to meet short term demands.

In December 2012, China Airlines announced the purchase of six Boeing 777-300ER aircraft, as well as a lease on four additional frames through GECAS. The aircraft will primarily be deployed on North American and European routes, either supplementing or replacing their existing 747 fleet.[19]

In October 2013, the airline's president Sun Hung-Hsiang announced that the airlines is planning on ordering 20-25 narrow-body aircraft for itself and another 8 or more for its subsidiary Mandarin Airlines. Type in consideration includes the Boeing 737MAX and Airbus A320neo.[12] In January 2014, the airlines further noted that aircraft from the order will be delivered from 2018.[20]


China Airlines Cargo Boeing 747-400F taxis after landing at Manchester Airport, England.

China Airlines Cargo is the airline's freight division, operating in Asia, Europe and North America. It operates a fleet of 19 freighters to 38 destinations around the world, in addition to utilising the cargo space on its passenger aircraft. China Airlines operates one of the world's largest fleet of Boeing 747-400Fs. The cargo division ranked seventh in the freight category of the 2008 The World's Top 25 Airlines by Air Transport World.[21]

Cargo fleet plans[edit]

China Airlines has been suffering from falling cargo demands and has sent 3 Boeing 747-400Fs to an aircraft boneyard at Victorville Airport for storage.[22]


Cabin classes[edit]

First Class is offered in seven of Boeing 747 aircraft that primarily serve Los Angeles and San Francisco routes. 12 lie-flat seats with in-seat power and 15" IFE screens are located in the nose section of the aircraft.

Business Class, formerly known as Dynasty Class, is offered in all of China Airlines' aircraft. Regional-configuration Airbus A330 aircraft feature 36 shell seats with 52" of pitch and 140° of recline; other A330 aircraft feature 30 shell seats with 63" of pitch and 166° of recline. On A340 aircraft, there are 30 recliner-style seats with 60" inches of pitch and 150° of recline. All Business Class seats on China Airlines' Airbus aircraft have in-seat power and 10.4" IFE screens. Boeing 747 aircraft equipped with First Class have 49 Business Class seats, while those without First Class have 70 Business Class seats; all seats offer 60" of pitch and in-seat power. The recliner-style seats of newer (Version 3) aircraft have 140° of recline and 10.4" IFE displays, while the shelled angled-lie-flat seats[23] of the refurbished (Versions 4 and 5) aircraft have 160° of recline and 15" IFE displays. Boeing 737 aircraft are equipped with 8 recliners styles seats with 40" of pitch, reduced recline, and no in-seat video or power.

Economy Class on all China Airlines aircraft feature 31-32" of pitch and, except on Boeing 737 aircraft, IFE screens ranging from 6.5" to 9" in size.


Dynasty Class dinner

Food and beverages served on flights from Taipei are provided by China Pacific Catering Services (CPCS) facilities in Taipei. China Airlines offers a variety of meals on intercontinental routes, depending on seat class, destination and flight length. Western and Eastern menu selections are typically offered, including seasonal menu selections varied by destination. Special meal offerings can be requested in each class during booking, including children's, religious, vegetarian, and other meals. Meals from famous Taiwanese restaurants or hotels are offered, mostly to First and Business Class passengers.

China Airlines also offers refreshments (also known as light meals) or snack boxes on all of their international flights. Pre-flight drinks and mixed nuts are available in First Class and Business Class. China Airlines offers only coffee, tea, and water for economy class passengers in flights that are less than three hours. However, drinks and alcohol are still available to First Class, Business Class, and Economy Class (on flights longer than three hours) passengers.

In-flight entertainment[edit]

"Fantasy Sky", China Airlines' in-flight entertainment system, is available on all aircraft with Audio/Video on Demand (AVOD). Fantasy Sky contains over 100 movies, television shows, songs, and video games, as well as aircraft exterior views (such as the nose wheel). It is available in three languages: English, Japanese, and Mandarin. China Airlines intended to fit Fantasy Sky entertainment systems on all the Boeing 747-400s by Q2 of 2012.[citation needed]

In-flight magazine[edit]

DYNASTY, China Airlines' in-flight magazine, is provided on all flights. It has articles in English, Chinese, and Japanese. The articles feature local and international events, descriptive culture, social introductions, personal interviews, in-flight entertainment instructions, and China Airlines' news.

Sky Boutique, China Airlines' duty-free sales magazine, is provided on all flights.


China Airlines launched more methods to check in for flights. Among them were self-check in utilizing a kiosk at Taoyuan Airport and other selected destinations. China Airlines also offers check-in via mobile phone. Passengers can use the CI Mobile application to check flight arrivals and departures and check in for their flights.[citation needed]

China Airlines Cargo, the cargo division of the airline, has become the first airline operating out of Taipei to fully switch to e-air waybill. This eliminates the need for all paper documents when issuing air waybills. The International Air Transport Association (IATA) selected nine countries/territories and airlines in which to run the e-AWB pilot programme, including Taiwan and China Airlines.


China Airlines operates airline lounges, under the brand name Dynasty Lounge, in major destination airports. Passengers eligible to enter these facilities include business class passengers and Dynasty Flyer Gold, Emerald, and Paragon card holders.[24] China Airlines' flagship lounge, located at Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport, features separate facilities: Business and First. Other VIP lounges are operated in cooperation with partner airlines.

Dynasty Lounge services typically include refreshments, business facilities, and television and reading entertainment. The lounge at Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport, Terminal 2, has separate eating facilities at different levels; a check-in facility is reserved for Paragon card holders.

Private bus services in the United States[edit]

In the United States, China Airlines operates private bus services from airports with China Airlines flights to areas.[25]

The airline operates a bus to John F. Kennedy International Airport from Fort Lee, Parsippany-Troy Hills, and Edison in northern New Jersey, and several points in Greater Philadelphia, including Cherry Hill, New Jersey, Center City Philadelphia, and South Philadelphia.[26] Previously the shuttle served Chinatown, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.[27] The Taipei Times reported that passengers "highly appreciated" the China Airlines JFK bus service.[25]

The airline operates a bus to San Francisco International Airport from Milpitas and Cupertino in California.[28] The airline operates a bus to Los Angeles International Airport from Monterey Park and the Rowland Heights area of unincorporated Los Angeles County in California.[29]

Previously the airline operated free buses in Houston, Texas and Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates.[25] The Houston bus service served Sugar Land and the Houston Chinatown.[30] It ended in 2008 when China Airlines ended its Houston service.[31]

Dynasty Flyer[edit]

Dynasty Flyer is China Airlines' frequent flyer program. There are four tiers where three elite tiers are Gold, Emerald, and Paragon. Members can qualify for these elite tiers by earning enough air miles and/or segments within 12 calendar months. Elite members have more privileges such as access to the VIP Lounge, a higher checked baggage allowance, and being able to upgrade their ticket to a different cabin. All elite memberships last two years and soft landings are available.[32]


CAL Park, headquarters for the company

China Airlines has its headquarters, CAL Park (Chinese: 華航園區; pinyin: Huáháng Yuánqū[33]), on the grounds of Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport in Dayuan Township, Taoyuan County. CAL Park, located at the airport entrance, forms a straight line with Terminal 1, Terminal 2, and the future Terminal 3.[34]

Previously China Airlines had its headquarters in Songshan District, Taipei.[35][36] Previously China Airlines had operations at its headquarters, facilities on the east side of Taipei Songshan Airport, and at Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport. The airline consolidated all of those functions in its new headquarters site. The airline will rent space in the six floors making up its former headquarters to tenants. The monthly rent will be $2,000 New Taiwan Dollars per ping. In September 2009 the airline estimated that it would make $7 million NTW in monthly rental income. Han Liang-zhong, a China Airlines vice president, said that the rental income would cover the bank loans that the airline borrowed to finance the construction of the CAL Park.[37] As a result of the headquarters move, China Airlines will develop part of the training center at Taipei Songshan Airport into a business aviation center.[38] The airline's Taipei Branch Office (Chinese: 台北分公司; pinyin: Táiběi Fēngōngsī[39]) remains at the former headquarters site.[40]

Subsidiaries and associates[edit]

China Airlines has diversified into related industries and sectors, including ground handling, aviation engineering, inflight catering.

Companies with major China Airlines Group stake include:

CompanyTypePrincipal activitiesIncorporated inGroup's Equity Shareholding
(10 March 2010)
Mandarin AirlinesSubsidiaryAirlineTaiwan93.99%
Tigerair TaiwanJoint VentureLow-cost carrierTaiwan80%
Taoyuan International Airport Services LimitedSubsidiaryGround handlingTaiwan49%
China Pacific Catering Services LimitedSubsidiaryCatering servicesTaiwan51%
Hua Hsia Company LimitedSubsidiaryLaundryTaiwan100%
China Pacific Laundry Services LimitedSubsidiaryLaundryTaiwan55%
Taiwan Air Cargo Terminals LimitedSubsidiaryCargo LoadingTaiwan54%
Global Sky Express LimitedJoint VentureCargo LoadingTaiwan25%
CAL ParkSubsidiaryHeadquartersTaiwan100%
Dynasty HolidaysSubsidiaryTravel agencyTaiwan51%
Cal-Aisa Investment Inc.SubsidiaryHolding CompanyBritish Virgin Islands100%
China Aircraft Services LimitedJoint VentureMaintenance CompanyHong Kong20%


Between 1994 and 2002, China Airlines suffered 4 fatal accidents,[41] 3 of which each resulted in over 200 deaths. The accidents contributed to the airline having a poor reputation for safety, partly blamed on an air force-influenced pilot culture.[42] Since then, the airline's safety record has seen an improvement. In 2007, in an article published after the explosion of Flight 120, The Wall Street Journal quoted analysts as saying the airline has had "a marked improvement in safety and operational performance since 2002", with the mid-air disintegration of Flight 611 being "a catalyst for an overhaul" in its safety practices.[41]

Incidents and accidents[edit]

China Airlines has suffered numerous incidents and accidents since its formation. The last major accident was in 2007, while the last fatal accident occurred in 2002:

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b
  2. ^ a b
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  23. ^ ""
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  33. ^ "「華航園區新建工程」1月31日隆重舉行開工動土典禮2009年底完工 將成為台灣桃園國際機場地標." China Airlines. Retrieved on April 24, 2010. "「華航園區」預定2009年底前完工營運, ..."
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External links[edit]