Published on : Thursday, April 16, 2020
According to reports in Taiwanese media, the concerns arose after the airline sent a series of cargo flights to deliver medical supplies to assist in coronavirus aid efforts around the world. In recent days, netizens on the Taiwan have expressed worries that people would associate images of the airline with mainland China, not Taiwan, due to its name. And now, it appears officials at China Airlines aren’t opposed to the idea of making the change.
China Airlines was founded in Taiwan in 1959 and flies out of Taipei’s Taoyuan International Airport, servicing 160 destinations in 29 countries. The majority shareholder is the China Aviation Development Foundation, which is wholly owned by the Taiwanese government.
Those unaware of the region’s geopolitical sensitivities could be forgiven for getting confused about the airline and where it’s headquartered. Taiwan’s official name is the “Republic of China” (ROC), tracing its founding to 1911 on the Chinese mainland after the collapse of China’s last imperial dynasty. On Tuesday, Taiwanese premier Su Tseng-chang responded to public calls for a name change during a media briefing in Taipei.
His comments came on the heels of a Facebook post on April 11 from Taiwan’s Minister of Transportation and Communications, Lin Chia-lung, who suggested he would be open to working with the airline on a name change, though acknowledged they would require a consensus from the public to go through with it.
A petition requesting the name change was initiated two months ago on Change.org. As of April 15, more than 50,000 people had signed.