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China Airlines, Limited (Chinese: 中華航空公司 (pinyin: Zhōnghuá Hángkōng gōngsī), commonly abbreviated 華航) is the flag carrier of the Republic of Chinamarker (commonly known as Taiwanmarker). The airline is not directly state-owned but is 54% owned by the China Aviation Development Foundation (中華航空事業發展基金會) which is owned by the Republic of China. Unlike other state-owned companies in the Republic of China, the chairperson of China Airlines does not report to the Legislative Yuan.

The airline, based at Taiwan Taoyuan International Airportmarker and with headquarters in Taipeimarker, flies to destinations in Asia, Europe, North America and Oceania. The airline started scheduled flights between Taiwan and mainland China on July, 2008. Most flights serving this market are concentrated at Shanghai, Guangzhou, Beijing, and Hong Kong. China Airlines has operated the Hong Kong route since 1967 which is the airline's most profitable market, generating 13.3% of its NT$121.9 billion (US$ 3.7 billion) revenue in 2006 with over 140 flights flown a week between Taipei, Kaohsiung and Hong Kong.

The airline's main competitor is EVA Air. China Airlines is expected to become a full member of SkyTeam. Talks between the airline and the alliance started in 2007.


Before the Chinese Civil War, there were three airlines operating in the Republic of Chinamarker. One was Civil Air Transport, founded by General Claire L. Chennault and Whiting Willauer in 1946. The other two were joint ventures by the ROC government with Pan American World Airways and Lufthansamarker. As a result of the Chinese Civil War, the Communist Party of China took control of mainland China, and only Civil Air Transport moved along with the Kuomintang (KMT)-controlled ROC government to Taiwanmarker.

With a fleet of two PBY Amphibians, China Airlines was established on December 16, 1959, with its shares completely held by the ROC government. It was founded by a retired air force officer and initially concentrated on charter flights. During the 1960s, China Airlines was able to establish its first domestic and international routes, and in October 1962, a flight from Taipei to Hualienmarker became the airline's first domestic service. Growth continued and on December 1, 1966, Saigonmarker, South Vietnam (now Ho Chi Minh Citymarker, Vietnammarker) became the airline's first international destination. Trans-Pacific flights to San Franciscomarker were initiated on February 2, 1970.

The next 20 years saw sporadic but far-reaching growth for the company. Routes were opened to Los Angelesmarker, New Yorkmarker, Londonmarker and Parismarker, among others (China Airline's first European destination was Amsterdammarker). Jets were acquired, and China Airlines employed such planes as the Boeing 747 in its fleet. Later, the airline inaugurated its own round-the-world flight: (Taipeimarker-Anchoragemarker-New Yorkmarker-Amsterdammarker-Dubaimarker-Taipei). 1993 saw China Airlines listed on the Taiwan Stock Exchange.

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 Chinamarker 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, China Airlines unveiled its "plum blossom flower" logo, replacing the national flag, which had previously appeared on the tail fins, and the red-white-blue national colors on the fuselage of its aircraft, on October 7, 1995.

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).

Taiwan's political status proved to be a blessing in disguise for China Airlines in Japan. As Japan does not recognize Taiwan's independence, it did not allow China Airlines to use Narita International Airportmarker. Instead, China Airlines used Tokyo International Airportmarker (which is located within the special wards of Tokyo), an airport mainly used for domestic flights until April 18, 2002, when flights were transferred to Narita.

Some pro-Taiwan independence activists have sought to rename the airline "Taiwan Airlines", arguing that foreigners have in the past confused the airline with Air China and that "China" is not a representative name for an airline that has no scheduled flights to mainland China. In late 2004, President Chen Shui-bian proposed the renaming of all state-owned enterprises bearing the name "China" to "Taiwan." Many consider his act as one of desinicization. This was opposed by the Pan-blue coalition, the opposition parties in the Taiwan legislature. The airline also voiced concern over its international operations, codeshare agreements and other commercial contracts. [18868] The issue was dropped after the 2004 Legislative Yuan election when the pro-Chen Pan-Green Coalition failed to win a majority. In 2007, however, the issue resurfaced with the renaming of several state-owned companies such as Chunghwa Post, whose name was changed to Taiwan Post (a name that was reverted again to Chunghwa Post when the KMT won both the presidential and legislative 2008 elections) and CPC Corporation, Taiwan

China Airlines has been reported to be in talks with the SkyTeam airline alliance regarding full membership.



 the China Airlines fleet consists of the following aircraft:
China Airlines Fleet
Aircraft Type Number of Aircraft Passenger Seats (F/J/C/Y)** Scheduled Routes
(as of 01NOV09)
Airbus A330-300 Short Haul
313 (-/36/-/277)
From Taipei Taoyuanmarker to: Chengdumarker, Hong Kongmarker-Bangkokmarker, Denpasarmarker, Fukuoka, Guammarker, Hong Kongmarker, Jakartamarker, Hong Kongmarker-Jakartamarker, Kuala Lumpurmarker, Manilamarker, Nagoya, Nanjingmarker☆, Ningbomarker☆, Osaka Kansaimarker, Seoul Incheonmarker, Singaporemarker-Surabayamarker, Tokyo Naritamarker and Xiamenmarker.From Kaohsiungmarker to: Hangzhoumarker☆, Hong Kongmarker, Ningbomarker☆, Shanghai Pudong, and Shenzhenmarker. Plans to lease two more by the end of 2009.
Long Haul
307 (-/30/-/277)
From Taipei Taoyuanmarker to: Brisbanemarker, Delhimarker*, Delhimarker-Romemarker (begins 01DEC09), Honolulumarker, Sydneymarker, and selective short haul turnovers. * 2 weekly seasonal operation to Delhi during selective months in Winter 2009/10.
Airbus A340-300 6 276(-/30/-/246) From Taipei Taoyuanmarker to: Bangkokmarker, Frankfurtmarker, Ho Chi Minh Citymarker, Hong Kongmarker, Manilamarker, Bangkokmarker-Romemarker (ends 30NOV09), Seoul Incheonmarker, Vancouvermarker, Viennamarker and various charter routes to East Asia and Oceania.
Airbus A350-900XWB 14 Order
6 Option
Boeing 737-800 10 158 (-/-/8/150) From Taipei Taoyuanmarker to: Changshamarker☆, Denpasarmarker, Hanoimarker, Hiroshima, Hong Kongmarker, Jeju☆, Korormarker, Manilamarker, Okinawamarker, Penangmarker, Phnom Penhmarker, Phuketmarker, Sapporo New Chitosemarker, Shenyangmarker, Xi'anmarker, Yangonmarker,Zhengzhoumarker☆ and various charter routes to Japan and South East Asia.From Kaohsiungmarker to: Bangkokmarker, Denpasarmarker, Hong Kongmarker, Jeju☆, Nagoya, and Singaporemarker. Also operated as seasonal charter.
Boeing 747-400 13 375 (12/49/-/314)397 (14/-/64/319) From Taipei Taoyuanmarker to: Bangkokmarker-Amsterdammarker, Beijing, Denpasarmarker, Frankfurtmarker, Guangzhoumarker, Hong Kongmarker^, Tokyo Naritamarker-Honolulumarker, Anchoragemarker-New York JFKmarker, Osaka Kansaimarker*, San Franciscomarker, Shanghai Pudong, Shenzhenmarker and Tokyo Naritamarker.
Embraer E190 Wet Leased 104 (-/-/-/104) From Taipei Taoyuanmarker to: Cebumarker☆☆, Chiang Maimarker☆☆, Kalibo☆☆, and Yangonmarker☆☆.From Kaohsiungmarker to: Manilamarker☆☆ and Seoul Incheonmarker☆.From Taichungmarker to: Hangzhoumarker☆ and Ningbomarker☆. Wet leased from Mandarin Airlines.
** F - First Class Seats, J - Dynasty Supreme Seats, C - Dynasty Class Seats, Y - Economy Class Seats.
☆ Operated as Mandarin Airlines.

☆☆ Operated by Mandarin Airines.

^ First Class service is not available for Hong Kong and the cabin is sold and used as Dynasty Class.

Upper deck of 74A is occasionally sold and used as Economy Class.

 the average age of the China Airlines fleet is 7.0 years. China Airlines has the world's largest fleet of Boeing 747-400Fs.

Two of their earliest 747-400s (B-18271 and B-18272) have been given to Boeing and converted to Boeing LCFs for transportation of 787 parts. In return, four new 747-400s were delivered to China Airlines. The livery of one of the new 747s (B-18210) is a combination of the China Airlines plum blossom tail and Boeing's Dreamliner colors design. These were the four last passenger 747-400s to be manufactured and delivered, and feature the Boeing Signature interior in common with the 747-400ER and most notably the Boeing 777.

In an interview with Taiwan's Economic Daily newspaper, China Airlines' CEO announced a cabin upgrade of all the airline's Boeing 747-400s in the second half of 2008, at a cost of around $7 billion Taiwan dollars. The 747-400s will be have two new configurations, with six in a two class configuration of Dynasty (Business) Class and Economy Class for flights to regional destinations in Asia and to Amsterdam, and the others in a three class configuration of First Class, Dynasty (Business) Class and Economy Class for long haul flights to America.

The airline is undergoing a fleet renewal and simplification program. The A300-600R has been replaced with the A330-300 and there are plans for a long-haul fleet renewal. Questioned about the airline's long haul fleet renewal plan, the CEO revealed that one model from Airbus and Boeing will be selected and evaluated, with China Airlines looking at Airbus's A380 and A350 and Boeing's 747-8 and 787. He has specified that the airline will not select the Boeing 777. China Airlines was reported to have decided on six Boeing 787s on July 18, 2007; however, this report, like the previous 747-8i reports, was quickly rejected by the airline. 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 A350 will offer 2-class (Business and Economy) service with 327 seats.


Cabin classes

Aircraft type First Class Cabin Dynasty Supreme or Dynasty Cabin Economy Cabin Notes
Airbus A330-300 N/A 36 shelled seats with 52" pitch and 140° recline.
10.4" PTV w/AVOD.
277 seats with 31-32" pitch.
6.5" PTV w/AVOD.

Seats are ergonomically designed for comfort.

AB Seats have better pitch than DEFG and JK.

30 shelled seats with 63" pitch and 166° recline.
10.4" PTV w/AVOD.
Airbus A340-300 N/A 30 seats with 60" pitch and 150° recline.
10.4" PTV w/AVOD.
246 seats with 31-32" pitch.
6.5" PTV w/AVOD.

Seats are ergonomically designed for comfort.

To be replaced by A350-900XWB in 2015.
Boeing 737-800 N/A 8 seats with 40" pitch and minimal recline.
No personal TV.

LCD screens are dropped from the ceilings every 3-4 rows.

150 seats with 31" pitch.
No personal TV.

LCD screens are dropped from the ceilings every 3-4 rows.

Boeing 747-400 14 seats with 83" pitch and 180° lie-flat sleeper.
6" PTV w/o AVOD.
64 seats with 47-50" pitch and 130° recline.
6" PTV w/o AVOD.
319 seats with 31-32" pitch.
No personal TV.

Video screen on walls and monitor above different rows in the aisle.

All aircraft to be renovated with dates undetermined.
12 suite seats with 83" pitch and 180° recline.
15" PTV w/AVOD.
49 seats with 60" pitch and 140° recline.
10.4" PTV w/AVOD.

Leather Seats.

314 seats with 31-32" pitch.
6.5" PTV w/AVOD.

Seats are ergonomically designed for comfort.

B-18210 featured China Airlines plum blossom tail and Boeing's Dreamliner colors design.
Embraer E190 N/A N/A 104 seats with 31-32" pitch and minimal recline.
No personal TV.

LCD screens are dropped from the ceilings every 3-4 rows.

Wet leased from Mandarin Airlines.

In-flight entertainment

  • "Fantasy Sky", the in-flight entertainment system, is available on all aircraft with Audio video on demand (AVOD). The AVOD system contains television shows, songs, video games, as well as aircraft exterior views (such as the nose wheel). The AVOD system is available in three languages: English, Japanese, and Mandarin. China Airlines intends to fit Fantasy Sky entertainment systems on all the B747-400s by the end of 2009.
  • DYNASTY is the China Airlines in-flight magazine. It has articles in English, Chinese and Japanese featuring local and international events, descriptive culture, social introductions, and personal interviews.
  • Sky Boutique is the duty free sales magazine. Text is in English, Chinese and Japanese.

In-flight catering

Dynasty Class dinner

  • Pre-flight drinks and mixed nuts are available in First, Dynasty Supreme, and Dynasty Cabin.
  • Alcohols and beverages are not offered on flights less than 180 minutes (only coffee, tea and water) in Economy class. Those drinks are available in the premium cabins regardless of flight duration.
  • Refreshments (also known as light meals) or Snack Boxes are offered on all international flights operated by China Airlines.
  • A standard five-course meal is available in First Class cabin on all flights. A standard three-course meal is available in Dynasty Supreme or Dynasty cabin.
  • Snacks are available upon request in Economy cabin but are usually not available if the flight duration is less than 180 minutes. Snacks are usually cookies, crackers, mix nuts, and instant noodles.
  • For First, Dynasty Supreme, and Dynasty cabin, refreshments and snacks of better quality are available upon request.

Dynasty Flyer

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. A one way flight is counted as 1 segment unless the air mile denoted by IATA is less than 500 (such as TPE-OKA), where 0.8 segments will be used instead. All elite memberships last two year and soft landings are available.


There is no requirement in this tier. However an application must be made to China Airlines to join for mileage and segment accruals.


Tier is achieved when 40,000 air miles have been accrued or 10 segments in paid First (F/A), Dynasty Supreme (J/D), or Dynasty Cabin (C/D) with China Airlines and/or Mandarin Airlines. Renewal is achieved when 55,000 air miles are achieved or 20 segments in paid First (F/A), Dynasty Supreme (J/D), or Dynasty Cabin (C/D) with China Airlines and/or Mandarin Airlines within membership validity.

Additional benefits are offered such as birthday month miles, dedicated check-in counter or guaranteed business class check-in counter on all destinations served by China Airlines, 10 kg extra luggage (1 piece if traveling to/from North America w/weight based on cabin traveled), Business Class lounge access, priority baggage handling, and priority wait list.


Tier is achieved at 110,000 air miles and four segments, or 40 segments in paid First (F/A), Dynasty Supreme (J/D), or Dynasty Cabin (C/D) with China Airlines and/or Mandarin Airlines.

In additional to benefits in Gold Tier, benefits offered are qualification gifts, dedicated hotlines, First Class lounge access, 72 hours seat verification, duty free items discount, free lounge access for one guest, and free spouse upgrades.


Tier is achieved at 180,000 air miles and six segments, or 60 segments in paid First (F/A), Dynasty Supreme (J/D), or Dynasty Cabin (C/D) with China Airlines and/or Mandarin Airlines.

In additional to benefits in Emerald Tier, benefits offered are 10,000 qualification miles, another 10 kg extra luggage (one piece if traveling to North America w/weight based on cabin traveled), another free lounge access for one guest (unlimited for children), complimentary spouse Gold Card, and 20% bonus miles on all flights operated by China Airlines.


CAL Park, which will serve as China Airlines's headquarters, is scheduled to open in March 2010. The 16,520 square meter (1.65 hectare) facility, located near Taiwan Taoyuan International Airportmarker, will include all of China Airlines's passenger and cargo executive operations, aircraft operations, ground handling services, maintenance, and simulator training. The Novotel Taipei hotel will be on the property. On January 31, 2008 China Airlines began work CAL Park. the 4.5 billion New Taiwan dollar CAL Park was originally scheduled to open at the end of 2009.

Codeshare agreements

 China Airlines has codeshare agreements with the following airlines:

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

Private bus services in the United States

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

The airline operates a bus to John F. Kennedy International Airportmarker from Fort Leemarker, Parsippany-Troy Hillsmarker, and Edisonmarker in New Jersey and Chinatownmarker, Philadelphiamarker, Pennsylvaniamarker. The Taipei Times reported that passengers "highly appreciated" the China Airlines JFK bus service.

The airline operates a bus to San Francisco International Airportmarker from Milpitasmarker and Cupertinomarker in California. The airline operates a bus to Los Angeles International Airportmarker from Monterey Parkmarker and the Rowland Heightsmarker area of unincorporated Los Angeles County in California.

Previously the airline operated free buses in Houstonmarker, Texas and Abu Dhabimarker in the United Arab Emirates.

Incidents and accidents

Since 1970, the airline has averaged 6.44 fatal events per million flights, while the worldwide average is under 2.0.

  • August 12, 1970, Flight 206, a NAMC YS-11, struck a ridge while landing at Taipei, killing 14 people. This was the airline's first fatal accident.
  • November 20, 1971, Flight 825, a Caravelle aircraft, blew up after a bomb on it exploded, causing the deaths of 25 people over the Penghu Islands.
  • February 19, 1985, China Airlines Flight 006, a Boeing 747SP, performed an uncontrolled descent over the Pacific Oceanmarker resulting in substantial damage to the aircraft.
  • February 16, 1986, Flight 2265, a Boeing 737, crashed in Makungmarker, Penghumarker, killing 13.
  • October 26, 1989, a China Airlines Boeing 737-200 crashed shortly after takeoff from Hualien, Taiwan. All 54 passengers and crew aboard were killed.
  • December 29, 1991, Flight 358, a Boeing 747 freighter, hit a hillside at Wanli, Taiwan after separation of its No.3 & 4 engines, killing five people.
  • November 4, 1993, Flight 605, a brand new Boeing 747-400, overran the Kai Tak Airport runway 13 while landing during a typhoon. It had touched down more than 2/3 down the runway and was unable to stop before the end of the runway, finishing up in Hong Kong harbour. All 396 people on board were safely evacuated but the aircraft was written off, the vertical stabilisers were dynamited away due to their interference with Kai Tak's ILS systems.
  • April 26, 1994, Flight 140marker, an Airbus A300, crashed while landing at Nagoya, Japanmarker, killing 264 people.
  • February 16, 1998, Flight 676marker, an Airbus A300, crashed after a failed missed-approach at Taiwan Taoyuan International Airportmarker in Taiwanmarker, killing all 196 aboard along with 9 on the ground, including Taiwan Central Bank chief Hsu Yuan-Dong.
  • August 22, 1999, Flight 642, a McDonnell Douglas MD-11, flipped over while landing at Hong Kong airport during a typhoon. Three people were killed.
  • May 25, 2002, Flight 611marker, a Boeing 747-200B, broke up in mid-air on the way to Hong Kong International Airportmarker in Hong Kongmarker from Taiwan Taoyuan International Airportmarker in Taiwanmarker. All 206 passengers and 19 crew members died. The aircraft was the last 747-200 in China Airlines' fleet.
  • August 20, 2007, China Airlines Flight 120, a Boeing 737-800 inbound from Taipei caught fire shortly after landing at Naha Airportmarker in Okinawa Prefecturemarker, Japanmarker. After stopping on the tarmac, the engine started smoking and burning, and later exploded causing the aircraft to catch fire. A statement from the airline confirmed that all passengers and crew members were safely evacuated, and a ground engineer knocked off his feet by the blast was unhurt. The cause of the explosion has been attributed to a fuel leak caused by a bolt from the right wing slat puncturing the fuel tank.


  1. " Investor Relations." China Airlines. Retrieved on May 20, 2009.
  2. China Airlines
  3. ATW Daily News
  4. China Airlines
  5. Ho, Jessie. " MOEA launches state-run name change campaign." Taipei Times. Saturday February 3, 2007. Retrieved on March 11, 2009.
  6. " CAL at a Glance," China Airlines
  7. China Airlines
  8. " Premier Liu Inspects Construction Progress at CAL Park and Novotel Taipei Taoyuan Hotel." China Airlines. April 17, 2009. Retrieved on September 29, 2009.
  9. Karantzavelou, Vicky. " China Airlines breaks ground for future headquarters at Taoyuan International Airport at Travel Daily News, Thursday January 31, 2008. Retrieved on February 2, 2009.
  10. " China Airlines releases special online promotions." Taipei Times. Friday August 17, 2007. Page 4. Accessed on December 25, 2008.
  11. " Complimentary Bus Service Provided To/From JFK International Airport Terminal One." China Airlines. Retrieved on December 25, 2008.
  12. " South Bay - SFO Int'l Airport Bus Service." China Airlines. Retrieved on December 25, 2008.
  13. " Complimentary Bus Service to LAX." China Airlines. Retrieved on December 25, 2008.
  14. Plane Crash News Plus Insights About Airline Safety and Airline Security
  15. Plane Crash News Plus Insights About Airline Safety and Airline Security

External links

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