China Airlines Ltd (CAL, 中華航空) on Monday unveiled a new Boeing 777 cargo jet that highlights Taiwan on its fuselage while minimizing the company’s logo.
The airline, in which the government holds nearly a 45 percent stake, was asked by lawmakers on the legislature’s Transportation Committee to assess the possibility of redesigning the exterior signage of its aircraft after it was erroneously identified as a Chinese carrier when delivering government donations of masks to Europe earlier this year.
A resolution passed by the committee in July said the airline should either remove or minimize “China” from the fuselage, and highlight “Taiwan” or images related to the nation.
Photo courtesy of CAL via CNA
The new jet has the word “Cargo” painted near the front, with a map of Taiwan proper placed in the letter C.
Meanwhile, the words “China Airlines” have been significantly reduced and moved to near the tail, while a plum blossom, the national flower, has been painted on the vertical stabilizer.
CAL chairman Hsieh Shih-chien (謝世謙) said in a statement that the cargo jet, which arrived in Taiwan on Dec. 1, is one of six cargo aircraft that it ordered from Boeing Co that are scheduled to be delivered by 2023.
The plane has been certified as safe to operate and the aircraft would be dispatched to destinations in Asia and North America, he said.
Two more Boeing 777F cargo planes are scheduled to arrive before the end of next month, Hsieh added.
Deputy Minister of Transportation and Communications Wang Kuo-tsai (王國材), who serves as the chairman of the government-funded China Aviation Development Foundation, which owns a 34.45 percent stake in the airline, said that the legislature’s resolution did not involve changing the airline’s name, but the airline was asked to highlight Taiwan, as CAL owns the aviation rights to operate on existing flight routes.
“We understand that the public has greater expectations for the airline in terms of the steps it would take to change its name in the medium and long term,” Wang said.
The airline is planning to highlight Taiwan and images related to the nation more on its new passenger jets, Wang said.
Minister of Transportation and Communications Lin Chia-lung (林佳龍) said that the new design aims to avoid confusion, as the airline has to protect its brand’s reputation.
“Regarding highlighting images of Taiwan, I think the airline would listen to responses from the public and gather opinions about the new design,” Lin said.
The new design has drawn a mixed response.
Nuclear energy advocate Huang Shih-hsiu (黃士修) said that the design amounts to selling out Taiwan, as it looks as if a big “C” — or China — is swallowing up Taiwan.
Democratic Progressive Party Legislator Wang Ting-yu (王定宇) said that the design does not tell people that the airline is a Taiwanese carrier, because not many people are familiar with the map of Taiwan.
The aircraft still has the words “China Airlines” painted on it, while “Taiwan” is missing, Wang said.
The New Power Party said that the design was disappointing, as people are looking forward to one that clearly represents Taiwan.
“We urge the ministry and CAL to stop giving a perfunctory response to the Legislative Yuan’s resolution. They should take the public’s expectations seriously and present an exterior design that magnifies Taiwan and its images. We should not be afraid to tell the world we are from Taiwan, and such a design would be supported by all,” the party said.
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