China Airlines

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China Airlines
IATA ICAO Callsign
FoundedSeptember 7, 1959; 64 years ago (1959-09-07)
Commenced operationsDecember 16, 1959; 64 years ago (1959-12-16)
Focus cities
Frequent-flyer programDynasty Flyer
Fleet size83
Parent companyChina Airlines Group
HeadquartersCAL Park, Dayuan District, Taoyuan City, Taiwan
Key peopleHsieh Shih-chen (Chairman)
RevenueIncrease TWD 139.815 billion (2017)[1]
Operating incomeIncrease TWD 3.088 billion (2017)[1]
Net incomeIncrease TWD 2.208 billion (2017)[1]
Total assetsIncrease TWD 228.421 billion (2017)[1]
Total equityIncrease TWD 54.709 billion (2017)[1]
China Airlines, Limited
Traditional Chinese中華航空股份公司
Simplified Chinese中华航空股份公司
Traditional Chinese華航
Simplified Chinese华航

China Airlines (CAL; Chinese: 中華航空; pinyin: Zhōnghuá Hángkōng; Pe̍h-ōe-jī: Tiong-hôa Hâng-khong) is the state-owned flag carrier of the Republic of China (Taiwan). It is one of Taiwan's two major airlines along with EVA Air. It is headquartered in Taoyuan International Airport and operates over 1,400 flights weekly – including 91 pure cargo flights – to 102 cities across Asia, Europe, North America, and Oceania.[2][3][4] Carrying nearly 20 million passengers and 5700 tons of cargo in 2017, the carrier was the 33rd largest airline in the world in terms of revenue passenger kilometers (RPK) and 10th largest in terms of freight revenue ton kilometers (FRTK).[1]

China Airlines is owned by China Airlines Group, which is headquartered at the CAL Park and also operates China Airlines Cargo, a member of SkyTeam Cargo, which operates a fleet of freighter aircraft and manages its parent airline's cargo-hold capacity. Its sister airlines include Mandarin Airlines, which operates flights to domestic and low-demand regional destinations, and Tigerair Taiwan, which is a low-cost carrier established by China Airlines and Singaporean airline group Tigerair Holdings but is now wholly owned by China Airlines Group.[5]


Formation and early years (1959–1970)[edit]

China Airlines Boeing 727-09C at Singapore International Airport in 1974.

With a fleet of two PBY Amphibians, China Airlines was established on December 16, 1959,[2] with its shares completely held by the Republic of China government.[citation needed] It was founded by I Fuen [zh],[6] a retired air force officer, 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.[7] Later, the airlines introduced international flights to South Vietnam, Hong Kong, and Japan.[citation needed] 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]

International expansion (1970–1995)[edit]

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 Air Lines aircraft) in 1976 and immediately placed them on its Hong Kong-Taipei-Tokyo-Honolulu-Los Angeles route. Shortly thereafter, four brand new Boeing 747SPs (Special Performance) were introduced in 1977. In 1975, three years after the establishment of diplomatic relations between Japan and China, all flights between Taiwan and Japan were suspended, and not resumed until the following year.[8] 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 smaller Taipei Songshan Airport to the newly built Chiang Kai-Shek International Airport (now Taoyuan International Airport). Following the introduction of 747-200s, the airlines introduced its first European destination, Amsterdam.[citation needed]

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 from crossing paths at any Japanese airports.[citation needed] Eva Air joined China Airlines later on, although both eventually moved to New Tokyo (now Narita International), with CAL moving on April 18, 2002.

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]

On February 8, 1990, China Airlines received the first of its initial five Boeing 747-400s (B-161).[9] 1993 saw the airline listed on the Taiwan Stock Exchange. The new 747-400s and an earlier order with Airbus for over a dozen A300B4 and A300-600Rs wide body regional jets allowed for addition destination growth. During the 1990s, China Airlines also bought the McDonnell Douglas MD-11 and had to compete with a new competitor, EVA Air. They also founded another airline to deal with the PRC-ROC dispute which borrowed aircraft from China Airlines itself.[10] One of China Airlines's 747-400s (B-164) was also used by President Lee Tung-hui during his trip to the United States in June 1995.[11]

China Airlines Boeing 747-400 at Los Angeles International Airport (B-162). Second 747-400 bought by China Airlines on the Taipei to Los Angeles route in the old Pre-1995 Livery.
China Airlines Boeing 747-400 at Los Angeles International Airport (B-162). Second 747-400 bought by China Airlines on the Taipei to Los Angeles route in the old Pre-1995 Livery.

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

An MD-11 wearing the new China Airlines pink flower livery at Taipei Chiang Kai-Shek (now Taoyuan) International Airport in 2001.

As Republic of China (Taiwan)'s flag carrier, China Airlines has been affected by disputes over the political status of Republic of China (Taiwan), and under pressure from the Chinese Communist Party, was barred from flying into a number of countries maintaining diplomatic relations with the People's Republic of China ("Mainland China"). As a result, in the mid-1990s, China Airlines subsidiary Mandarin Airlines took over some of its Sydney and Vancouver international routes. Starting from October 7, 1995, partly as a way to avoid the international controversy, China Airlines unveiled its "plum blossom" logo,[7][10] 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.[12] The plum blossom (Prunus mume) is Republic of China's National Flower.

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).[13]

During the 1990s and early 2000s, China Airlines placed orders for various airliners including the Airbus A330, Airbus A340, Boeing 737-800, as well as for additional 747-400s (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.[citation needed] (The aircraft took off from Taipei Chiang Kai-Shek (now 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.[citation needed] 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.[citation needed]

China Airlines signed an agreement to begin the process of joining airline alliance SkyTeam on September 14, 2010[14] and officially became a full member on September 28, 2011.[15] This was marked by an update to the logo of the airline and the typeface in which "China Airlines" is printed. The carrier was the first Taiwanese airline to join an airline alliance.

China Airlines Boeing 747-400 at Amsterdam Airport Schiphol in 2011.

Since 2012, China Airlines has been participating in the Pacific Greenhouse Gases Measurement (PGGM) Project, led by the Environmental Protection Administration, Ministry of Science and Technology, and National Central University. As part of the collaboration, China Airlines installed "In-service Aircraft for a Global Observing System (IAGOS)" on three aircraft: B-18806 (Airbus A340-300) in June 2012, B-18317 (Airbus A330-300) in July 2016, and B-18316 (Airbus A330-300) in July 2017. B-18806 also wore "The Official Airline for Climate Monitoring" special livery. Between July 2012 and September 2017, the PGGM fleet collected greenhouse gases-data from a total of 4682 flights. In May 2017, B-18806 was retired. B-18316 and B-18317 are expected to continue collecting data until 2027.[16][17]

In December 2013, China Airlines announced its new joint venture with Singaporean low-cost carrier Tigerair Holdings (now defunct and replaced by Budget Aviation Holdings) to establish Tigerair Taiwan. The new airline flew its inaugural flight to Singapore on September 26, 2014, and became the first, and currently only, Taiwanese low-cost carrier. Tigerair Holdings previously held 10 percent of the shares. As disputes unfolded surrounding the partnership, China Airlines Group re-negotiated with Tigerair Holdings and has now taken full ownership of Tigerair Taiwan.[5][18]

A China Airlines Boeing 777-300ER co-branded with Boeing Dreamliner colors.

In March 2014, China Airlines announced the "NexGen (Next Generation)" plan to complement its then-upcoming Boeing 777-300ER and Airbus A350-900XWB. Designed to refresh the brand image of the carrier, the plan included product innovations, new uniforms, and fleet replacements. Through cooperating with designers from the Greater China region, the carrier hoped to introduce unique product offerings that can showcase the beauty of the Orient and cultural creativity of Taiwan.[19] The first phase of the plan has been completed. In addition to new cabin designs, also introduced were the renovated Dynasty Lounges at Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport and the debut of new William Chang-designed uniforms.[20] The new fleet types allowed the retirement of older aircraft; the A340-300 fleet was fully retired in June 2017 while the 747-400 has been fully replaced on long-haul routes. With the First Class-equipped 747s flying regionally and new long-haul aircraft not featuring First Class, China Airlines terminated First Class services in 2016. First Class seats are now sold as Business Class.[19][21]

Future phases of the NexGen plan include ordering new aircraft to replace older fleet types. In May 2019, the airline announced that it will be introducing the Airbus A321neo, including 14 leased, 11 purchased, and 5 options, along with 3 orders and 3 options for the Boeing 777F. The A321neo will replace the Boeing 737-800 while 777Fs will replace the Boeing 747-400F. Cabin design on the A321neo will continue the NexGen design ethos to provide passenger experience cohesive with that of the 777 and A350.[22][23]

Focus has also been put on tapping the maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) market. In January 2015, China Airlines established Taiwan Aircraft Maintenance & Engineering Co. (TAMECO), an airline MRO company focusing on Boeing 737, 777, and Airbus A320, A330/A340, and A350XWB families fuselage maintenance. For the project, Airbus is providing a wide range of support, one of which is inviting China Airlines to join the Airbus MRO Alliance (AMA), alongside AAR Corp, Aeroman, Sabena technics, Etihad Airways Engineering, and GAMECO.[24] Moreover, a joint-venture agreement has been signed with Tulsa-based Nordam, specializing in nacelle, thrust reversers, and composite materials, to establish the only Nordam repair center in Asia.[25][26] The first TAMECO hangar, to be completed in March 2019, will be able to accommodate 2 777/A350 and 3 737/A320 at the same time.[27]

Labor-management unrest has been a major issue at China Airlines over recent years. On June 25, 2016, the Taoyuan Flight Attendants Union, representing some 2,500 cabin crew, staged the first strike in Taiwanese aviation history. A total of 122 passenger flights were cancelled during the day-long strike.[28] During the 2019 Lunar New Year season, over 600 pilots participated in a 7-day strike by the Taoyuan Union of Pilots. Over 200 flights were cancelled between February 8 and 14.[29]

In July 2020, the Legislative Yuan of the Republic of China passed a resolution for the Ministry of Transportation and Communications to rename the airline and redesign its liveries due to frequent confusion with Air China.[30]


CAL Park, the company's headquarters.

China Airlines has its headquarters, CAL Park (Chinese: 華航園區; pinyin: Huáháng Yuánqū[31]), on the grounds of Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport in Dayuan District (formerly Dayuan Township), Taoyuan City (formerly Taoyuan County). CAL Park, located at the airport entrance, forms a straight line with Terminal 1, Terminal 2, and the future Terminal 3.[32]

Previously China Airlines had its headquarters and facilities on the east side of Taipei Songshan Airport, in the China Airlines Building on Nanjing E. Road, and at Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport.[33] The functions were consolidated following the completion of CAL Park. The Taipei Branch Office of the airline remains at the China Airlines Building in downtown Taipei.[34]


Livery and uniforms[edit]

Prior to introducing the current plum blossom livery in 1995, the livery of China Airlines featured the flag of Republic of China (Taiwan) on the tail due to commercial and political reasons.[12] The common practice after the move to Taiwan in 1949 was for related enterprises to have the Taiwanese flag. In the 1990s the airline management stated to the South China Morning Post that the logo change to the flower was not because of politics. Han Cheung of the Taipei Times wrote that "the change was reportedly made so that the airline could keep flying to Hong Kong after the 1997 handover to China."[35]

In 2011, the carrier made alterations to its logo as part of refreshing the brand image, unveiled during SkyTeam joining ceremony in September 28. A new font was chosen for the company name and a new approach was taken for the appearance of the plum blossom trademark.[36]

China Airlines has had many uniforms since its establishment in 1959. The current uniform was designed by Hong Kong-based costume designer William Chang and introduced in 2015 to celebrate the carrier entering a "NexGen" Next Generation Era.[20]

Marketing slogans[edit]

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

  • We treasure every encounter (1987–1995)
  • We blossom everyday (1995–2006)
  • Journey with a caring smile (2006)
  • “ Expect The Coming Greatness” (approximately 2016) a slogan featured on marketing material distributed at the San Francisco Orchid Society's Pacific Orchid Expedition of which China Airlines was a sponsor. The marketing material also referenced “China Airlines presents newly retrofitted Boeing 747-400.”

Name issues[edit]

The name China Airlines reflects Taiwan's official name, the Republic of China.[37][38] This became an issue during the COVID-19 pandemic when foreign officials and the international press mistakenly identified a number of China Airlines flights repatriating Taiwanese citizens or bringing medical supplies to afflicted countries as related to the People's Republic of China rather than the Republic of China.[37] In April 2020 Premier Su Tseng-chang voiced support for changing the name but said that it might come at the cost of the nation's aviation rights. The Premier announced the China Airlines would highlight Taiwan on the fuselage of planes delivering COVID-19 related medical supplies.[39]

Special liveries[edit]

The first China Airlines special livery, the "Taiwan Touch Your Heart" tourism-promotional livery, was introduced in 2003. The project was a collaboration between the carrier and the Tourism Bureau of Taiwan. However, the plane was painted back to the normal livery before it left the hangar.[40] Currently, China Airlines has a total of 9 special livery aircraft in service.

Planes currently carrying hybrid liveries:

Plane once carrying a hybrid livery:

  • B-18210 (Boeing 747-400) – Nicknamed 'Blue Whale'; first aircraft in the world to use Boeing's co-branded livery on the 747-400[41]

"Flying Ambassador of Taiwan” series[edit]

In 2016, China Airlines announced that the Airbus A350-900 fleet will have a naming theme that combines endemic birds and unique features of Taiwan. The first two A350s were named Mikado pheasant and Taiwan blue magpie by the airline. The names of the remaining 12 aircraft were selected by the Taiwanese public online from a total of 24 choices.

Planes currently part of the series:

Skyteam alliance livery[edit]

China Airlines has two aircraft painted in the SkyTeam alliance livery:

Plane once part of the series:

Pokémon Jet[edit]

China Airlines unveiled the first Pokémon Jet in Taiwan as a part of "Pokémon Air Adventures", a collaboration project with The Pokémon Company.[45] The aircraft is a Airbus A321neo dubbed "Pikachu Jet CI", in which Pikachu is the main character of the jet.[46] The jet will have Pokémon themed check in tickets, in flight items and merchandises.[47]

Planes currently part of the series:

Historical special liveries[edit]

50th Anniversary series[edit]

In 2009, China Airlines decorated one plane of each of its plane types with the "50th Anniversary" logo. All planes of the series now wear the regular corporate livery or another special livery.

Planes once part of this series:

Taiwanese culture and creativity series[edit]

In 2013, China Airlines revealed plans to start a series of Taiwan-themed special livery aircraft. The carrier collaborated with Taiwanese artists, cultural workers, and the Tourism Bureau to design the special liveries.[48]

Planes once part of this series:

60th Anniversary series[edit]

In 2019, China Airlines entered its sixtieth year of operations. As part of the celebrations, the airline announced plans to decorate one aircraft from each of its fleet type with special 60th Anniversary stickers. The logo consisted of the number "60" in China Airlines' corporate colors, blue and red. The design also resembled "GO" and the infinity symbol "∞".[49] All planes of the series now wear the regular corporate livery.

Planes once part of this series:

Other retired special liveries[edit]


China Airlines destinations (June 2023)
  Passenger and cargo
  Passenger only
  Cargo only

China Airlines currently operates over 1,400 flights weekly (including pure cargo flights) to 178 airports in 29 countries on 4 continents as of Jan 31, 2024 (excluding codeshare; brackets indicate future destinations). Japan is the most important market of the carrier, with over 180 flights weekly from multiple points in Taiwan to 14 Japanese destinations.[50]

China Airlines has its largest hub at Taoyuan International Airport, which is the largest airport in Taiwan and is located near the national capital of Taipei. China Airlines operate out of both Terminal 1 and 2 at the airport. Operations to Europe, India, Korea, Hong Kong, Southeast Asia are located at Terminal 1 while those to China, Japan, North America and Oceania are located at Terminal 2. Additionally, China Airlines and its domestic subsidiary Mandarin Airlines operate numerous flights out of Kaohsiung International Airport and Taipei Songshan Airport, the downtown airport of Taipei. International flights from Songshan Airport to three Northeast Asian downtown airports, namely Tokyo–Haneda, Seoul–Gimpo, and Shanghai–Hongqiao, have important significance to the carrier as the routes form a Northeast Asia Golden Flight Circle.[51]

The expansion of China Airlines international presence has long been limited by the political status of Taiwan. Flights to Mainland China were not permitted until 2003, when the carrier's Chinese New Year charter flight 585 from Taipei-Taoyuan to Shanghai–Pudong via Hong Kong made China Airlines the first Taiwanese carrier to legally land in Chinese mainland and the first carrier to legally fly between the two areas after their split during the civil war.[52] The carrier operated occasional cross-strait charter flights for another few years until 2008, when regular charters flights started. In 2009, a new air service agreement allowed China Airlines to start regularly scheduled flights to the Mainland.[53] Since then, China has quickly become the second-largest market for China Airlines, with over 130 flights to 33 destinations across the Mainland.[54]

In September 2022, China Airlines announced the resumption of flights to Bali, the popular Indonesian tourist destination as the travel industry started recovering from the COVID-19 impact.[55]

Route plans[edit]

China Airlines aircraft line-up at Taoyuan International Airport in 2016.

Over the period between 2011 and 2015, China Airlines focused on strengthening its regional network; starting 2015 until 2020, the carrier is strengthening and expanding its European, North American, and Oceanian network with the new long-haul fleet.[56] After upgrading all its European routes to nonstop services, in late 2017, the carrier launched four weekly services to London Gatwick Airport. However, due to COVID-19 pandemic, flights to London were routed to Heathrow Airport. Although it was planned to move back to Gatwick in March 2021, but China Airlines opted to remain serving Heathrow as their scheduled London operation.[57] In France, as China Airlines does not have rights to operate flights to Paris, the airline cooperated with SkyTeam-partner Air France to launch nonstop flights to the French capital on Air France's airplanes in April 2018. China Airlines sells 40% of the seats on the flight.[58] In July 2023, a twice-weekly service to Prague was launched.[59] In America, daily flights were launched between Taipei and Ontario International Airport in Greater Los Angeles in March 2018.[60] Additionally, the carrier has expressed interests in launching European destinations such as Barcelona, Madrid and Warsaw;[61] in North America, Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Seattle, Montréal, and Toronto.[62][63][64][65]

Regarding its regional network, China Airlines is actively supporting the "New Southward Policy" of the Taiwanese government by adding frequencies to Southeast Asia. On the other hand, Mainland routes are being downsized due to tense cross-strait relations.[66]

Country City Airport Notes Refs
Australia Brisbane Brisbane Airport Passenger [67]
Melbourne Melbourne Airport Passenger [67][68]
Sydney Sydney Airport Passenger [67]
Austria Vienna Vienna Airport Passenger [67]
Cambodia Phnom Penh Phnom Penh International Airport Passenger [67]
Canada Calgary Calgary International Airport Cargo Terminated
Toronto Toronto Pearson International Airport Terminated
Vancouver Vancouver International Airport Passenger [67]
China Beijing Beijing Capital International Airport Passenger [67]
Changsha Changsha Huanghua International Airport Passenger [67][69]
Chengdu Chengdu Shuangliu International Airport Terminated [67]
Chengdu Tianfu International Airport Passenger [67][70]
Chongqing Chongqing Jiangbei International Airport Passenger + Cargo [67][71]
Fuzhou Fuzhou Changle International Airport Passenger
Operates for Mandarin Airlines
Guangzhou Guangzhou Baiyun International Airport Passenger + Cargo [67][71]
Haikou Haikou Meilan International Airport Passenger [67]
Hangzhou Hangzhou Xiaoshan International Airport Passenger
Operates for Mandarin Airlines
Lijiang Lijiang Sanyi International Airport Terminated [72]
Nanchang Nanchang Changbei International Airport Passenger [67]
Nanjing Nanjing Lukou International Airport Passenger + Cargo [67]
Ningbo Ningbo Lishe International Airport Passenger
Operates for Mandarin Airlines
Qingdao Qingdao Jiaodong International Airport Passenger [67]
Qingdao Liuting International Airport Airport Closed [67]
Sanya Sanya Phoenix International Airport Passenger [67]
Shanghai Shanghai Hongqiao International Airport Passenger [67]
Shanghai Pudong International Airport Passenger + Cargo [67][71]
Shenzhen Shenzhen Bao'an International Airport Passenger + Cargo [67][71][73]
Shenyang Shenyang Taoxian International Airport Passenger
Operates for Mandarin Airlines
Weihai Weihai Dashuibo Airport Passenger [74]
Wenzhou Wenzhou Longwan International Airport Passenger
Operates for Mandarin Airlines
Wuhan Wuhan Tianhe International Airport Passenger [67]
Wuxi Sunan Shuofang International Airport Passenger [67][75]
Xiamen Xiamen Gaoqi International Airport Passenger + Cargo [67][71]
Xi'an Xi'an Xianyang International Airport Passenger [67]
Xuzhou Xuzhou Guanyin International Airport Passenger [67]
Yangzhou Yangzhou Taizhou International Airport Passenger [76]
Yantai Yantai Laishan Airport Airport Closed
Zhengzhou Zhengzhou Xinzheng International Airport Passenger + Cargo [67][71]
Czech Republic Prague Václav Havel Airport Prague Passenger + Cargo [71][77]
Egypt Cairo Cairo International Airport Terminated [78]
Germany Frankfurt Frankfurt Airport Passenger + Cargo [67][71]
Guam Hagåtña Antonio B. Won Pat International Airport Passenger [67]
Hong Kong Hong Kong Hong Kong International Airport Passenger + Cargo [67][71]
Kai Tak Airport Airport Closed
India Chennai Chennai International Airport Terminated
Delhi Indira Gandhi International Airport Cargo [67][71][79]
Mumbai Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj International Airport Cargo [67]
Indonesia Denpasar Ngurah Rai International Airport Passenger [67]
Jakarta Soekarno–Hatta International Airport Passenger + Cargo [67][71]
Medan Polonia International Airport Airport Closed
Surabaya Juanda International Airport Terminated [80]
Italy Milan Milan Malpensa Airport Terminated
Rome Rome Fiumicino Airport Passenger [67]
Japan Fukuoka Fukuoka Airport Passenger [67]
Hiroshima Hiroshima Airport Passenger [67]
Ishigaki New Ishigaki Airport Seasonal [67][81]
Kagoshima Kagoshima Airport Passenger [67]
Kumamoto Kumamoto Airport Passenger [67]
Miyazaki Miyazaki Airport Passenger [67]
Nagoya Chubu Centrair International Airport Passenger + Cargo [67][71]
Okinawa Naha Airport Passenger [67]
Osaka Kansai International Airport Passenger + Cargo [67][71]
Sapporo New Chitose Airport Passenger [67]
Shizuoka Shizuoka Airport Passenger [67]
Takamatsu Takamatsu Airport Passenger [67][82]
Tokyo Haneda Airport Passenger [67]
Narita International Airport Passenger + Cargo [67][71]
Toyama Toyama Airport Passenger [67]
Luxembourg Luxembourg City Luxembourg Airport Cargo [67][71]
Malaysia Kuala Lumpur Kuala Lumpur International Airport Passenger + Cargo [67][71]
Penang Penang International Airport Passenger + Cargo [67][71]
Myanmar Yangon Yangon International Airport Passenger [67]
Netherlands Amsterdam Amsterdam Airport Schiphol Passenger + Cargo [67][71]
New Zealand Auckland Auckland Airport Passenger [67]
Christchurch Christchurch Airport Seasonal Terminated [83]
Palau Koror Roman Tmetuchl International Airport Passenger [67]
Philippines Cebu Mactan–Cebu International Airport Passenger [84]
Laoag Laoag International Airport Terminated
Manila Ninoy Aquino International Airport Passenger + Cargo [67][71]
Saudi Arabia Dhahran Dhahran International Airport Airport Closed
Jeddah King Abdulaziz International Airport Terminated [85]
Singapore Singapore Changi Airport Passenger + Cargo [67][71]
South Korea Busan Gimhae International Airport Passenger [67][86]
Cheongju Cheongju International Airport Charter Terminated [87]
Daegu Daegu International Airport Charter Terminated [87]
Gwangju Gwangju Airport Charter Terminated [87]
Seoul Gimpo International Airport Passenger [67]
Incheon International Airport Passenger + Cargo [67]
Sweden Stockholm Stockholm Arlanda Airport Cargo Terminated
Switzerland Zürich Zurich Airport Terminated
Sri Lanka Colombo Bandaranaike International Airport Cargo Terminated
Taiwan Kaohsiung Kaohsiung International Airport Focus city [67]
Taichung Taichung International Airport Terminated [67]
Tainan Tainan Airport Passenger [67]
Taipei Songshan Airport Focus city [67]
Taoyuan International Airport Hub [67]
Thailand Bangkok Don Mueang International Airport Terminated
Suvarnabhumi Airport Passenger + Cargo [67][71]
Chiang Mai Chiang Mai International Airport Passenger [88][89]
Phuket Phuket International Airport Terminated
United Arab Emirates Abu Dhabi Abu Dhabi International Airport Terminated [90][91]
Dubai Al Maktoum International Airport Cargo [67][71][91]
United Kingdom London Gatwick Airport Terminated [67][92]
Heathrow Airport Passenger [93][94]
Manchester Manchester Airport Terminated
United States Anchorage Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport Cargo [67][71]
Atlanta Hartsfield–Jackson Atlanta International Airport Cargo [67][71]
Boston Logan International Airport Cargo [95]
Chicago O'Hare International Airport Cargo [67][71]
Columbus Rickenbacker International Airport Cargo [67][71][96]
Dallas/Fort Worth Dallas Fort Worth International Airport Cargo [67][71]
Honolulu Daniel K. Inouye International Airport Terminated [67]
Houston George Bush Intercontinental Airport Cargo [67][71][97]
Los Angeles Los Angeles International Airport Passenger + Cargo [67][71]
Miami Miami International Airport Cargo [67][71]
Nashville Nashville International Airport Cargo Terminated [98][99]
New York City John F. Kennedy International Airport Passenger + Cargo [67][71]
Ontario, CA Ontario International Airport Passenger [67][100]
Phoenix, AZ Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport Seasonal Charter [101]
San Francisco San Francisco International Airport Passenger + Cargo [67][71]
Seattle Seattle–Tacoma International Airport Cargo
Passenger service resumes 14 July 2024
Vietnam Da Nang Da Nang International Airport Passenger [103]
Hanoi Noi Bai International Airport Passenger + Cargo [67][71]
Ho Chi Minh City Tan Son Nhat International Airport Passenger + Cargo [67][71]

Codeshare agreements[edit]

China Airlines codeshares with the following airlines:[104][105]

Deutsche Bahn (DB) is the only non-airline codeshare partner of China Airlines. The CI code is placed on seven Frankfurt-initiating DB routes, including those to Cologne, Düsseldorf, Hamburg, Hanover, Munich, Nuremberg, and Stuttgart.[111] Additionally, China Airlines is planning on codesharing with British Airways. Initial agreements have been struck to cooperate from Taipei-Taoyuan to London-Heathrow and beyond.[112]


Current fleet[edit]

As of 31 March 2024, China Airlines operates the following aircraft:[113]

China Airlines fleet
Aircraft In service Orders Passengers Notes
C W S Y Total
Airbus A321neo 11 14 12 168 180 Ordered 11 firms and 14 leased with 5 options.[114][115]
Deliveries from 2021 to 2026.[116]
Replacing Boeing 737-800 and Airbus A330-300.
Airbus A330-300 18 36 277 313 All to be retired by 2026 and replaced by Boeing 787 and Airbus A321neo.[117]
30 277 307
Airbus A350-900 15 32 31 36 207 306 1 leased aircraft delivered on January 2024 (with previous operator SAS' cabin configuration).[118]
40 32 228 300
Boeing 737-800 10 8 150 158 All to be retired and replaced by Airbus A321neo.[119]
153 161
Boeing 777-300ER 10 40 62 30 226 358
Boeing 787-9 18 TBA Original order for 16 787-9s with 8 options later firmed up.[120]
6 787-9s are converted to 787-10s.[121]
Deliveries from 2025 to 2028.
Replacing Airbus A330-300.[122]
Boeing 787-10 6 TBA
China Airlines Cargo fleet
Boeing 747-400F 12 Cargo
Boeing 777F 7 3 Cargo Original order for 3 aircraft with 3 options later firmed up.[123][124]
4 additional aircraft were ordered in January 2022.[125]
Deliveries from 2020 to 2024.[126]
Total 83 41

Retired fleet[edit]

China Airlines retired fleet
Aircraft Fleet Introduced Retired Replacement Notes
Airbus A300B4-200 6 1985 2001 Airbus A300-600R
Airbus A300-600R 10 1987 2007 Airbus A330-300
1 1994 None Crashed as flight CI140
1 1998 Crashed as flight CI676
Airbus A320-200 2 1994 1997 None
Airbus A340-300 7 2001 2017 Airbus A350-900 [127]
Boeing 707-320 6 1969 1985 Boeing 747-200B
Boeing 727-100 4 1967 1982 Boeing 737-200
Boeing 737-200 5 1976 1996 Boeing 737-400
1 1986 None Crashed as flight CI2265
1 1989 Crashed as flight CI204
Boeing 737-400 6 1996 1999 Boeing 737-800
Boeing 747-100 2 1975 1984 Boeing 747-200B
Boeing 747-200B 3 1978 1997 Boeing 747-400 Converted into freighter
1 2002 None Crashed as flight CI611
Boeing 747-200F 2 1980 2003 Boeing 747-400F
1 1991 None Crashed as flight CI358
Boeing 747-200SF 7 1992 2002 Boeing 747-400F
Boeing 747SP 4 1977 1999 Airbus A340-300
Boeing 747-400 19 1990[9] 2020[128] Boeing 777-300ER Includes B-18215, the last passenger Boeing 747-400 ever built.
1 1993 None Written off as flight CI605[129]
Boeing 767-200 2 1983 1989 None
Consolidated PBY Catalina 2 1959 1966 None
Douglas DC-3 9 1959 1976 Boeing 737-200
Douglas DC-4 Un­known 1962 1975 Boeing 737-200
McDonnell Douglas MD-11 3 1992 2001 Airbus A340-300
1 1992 1999 None Crashed as flight CI642
NAMC YS-11 1 1970 1979 Boeing 737-200
1 1970 None Crashed as flight CI206
Sud Aviation Caravelle 3 1970 1980 Un­known
1 1971 None Crashed as flight CI825


Renewal plans[edit]

China Airlines Airbus A350-900 with Mikado pheasant livery.

In May 2019, China Airlines announced that it will be introducing the Airbus A321neo to replace its Boeing 737-800 fleet. The airline will take delivery of 25 A321neos, including 14 leased and 11 purchased, starting 2021. The order with Airbus also includes the option for 5 more of the type.[22]

China Airlines also has options for 6 A350s. Decision to switch the options to firm orders will be based upon the performance of the aircraft on European nonstop routes.[130] The airline has taken a cautious attitude towards ordering the larger A350-1000 variant due to the large capacity.[131]

Regarding the Airbus A330-300, replacement plans have been underway since 2017.[132] Previously in 2016, a retrofit program was announced to upgrade the in-flight products on the A330. The plan was suspended indefinitely in favor of ordering and leasing new aircraft.[133] On August 30, 2022, the airline announced its decision to order Boeing 787-9 for A330-300 replacement; either Boeing 777-9 and/or Airbus A350-1000 to replace 777-300ER is still under consideration. On September 29, 2022, China Airlines made a purchase order for 16 Boeing 787-9 wide-body aircraft.[134]

Retirement plans[edit]

In June 2017, China Airlines completed the retirement of its entire Airbus A340-300 fleet and all Boeing 747-400 delivered before 2004. It has also phased out most Boeing 737-800 delivered before 2014. The retired A340-300 and Boeing 747-400 are either stored at the aircraft boneyard at Victorville Airport or sold. All stored passenger aircraft are to be sold eventually.[56][135][136][137] The last of the newer Boeing 747-400 passenger fleet with the General Electric CF6 engines was retired in March 2021.[138][139]

Cargo fleet plans[edit]

China Airlines Cargo Boeing 747-400F leaving Anchorage

China Airlines Cargo, the freight division of China Airlines, currently operates a fleet of 21 freighters to 33 destinations across Asia, Europe and North America. The division also utilizes the cargo space on passenger aircraft of the group. In May 2019, China Airlines signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Boeing for 3 orders and 3 options of the Boeing 777F. The 3 options were later changed to firm order. The 777F will partially replace the 747-400F fleet.[23] In January 2022 an order for 4 more 777F aircraft was placed.[125] In August 2022, the airlines said that Airbus A350F and Boeing 777-8F are both candidates for its next-gen freighters replacing the rest of the 747-400F fleet.[140]


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.[141]

Greater China Connection[edit]

In January 2013, SkyTeam-members China Airlines, China Eastern Airlines, China Southern Airlines, and XiamenAir announced plans to establish Greater China Connection. The partnership ensures that members flying the four airlines can enjoy matched benefits and freely change flights to any Greater China Connection partner-flights.[142]

Dynasty Lounges[edit]

TPE T1 Lounge Exclusive Area
TPE T1 Lounge Business Class Area

China Airlines' airline lounges are branded as "Dynasty Lounge". There are a total of 9 China Airlines lounges (including 1 Mandarin Airlines lounge in Taichung) at 7 different airports. Lounge services at other China Airlines destinations are offered by SkyTeam, partner airlines, or local operators. Dynasty Lounge is available to Business Class passengers and Dynasty Flyer Gold, Emerald, and Paragon cardholders. Two-section lounges include an Exclusive Area, for Dynasty Flyer Emerald and Paragon cardholders, and a Business Class Area, for Business Class passengers and Dynasty Flyer Gold cardholders.

Dynasty Lounge features vary by location. Services typically include meals, refreshments, free Wi-Fi access, computers, televisions, publications, shower facilities, and breast-feeding rooms. Sleeping quarters and tea bars are featured at the newly renovated Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport Terminal 1 lounge, which was designed by Taiwanese architect Ray Chen.[143]

Location of Dynasty Lounges:[144]

Skyteam Lounge Hong Kong[edit]

At Hong Kong International Airport Terminal 1, China Airlines utilises the SkyTeam alliance lounge, in which the carrier, alliance partner China Eastern Airlines, and Plaza Premium Lounge lead the designing, management, and operations. The 1,038 square meters lounge is located near Gate 5 and provides a total of 230 seats.[145]

Private bus services in the United States[edit]

In the United States, China Airlines operates private bus services in selected cities to transport customers between their residing location and the airport.[146]

In Greater New York, 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, North Philadelphia, and South Philadelphia. In Los Angeles, a bus transports customers between Los Angeles International Airport, Monterey Park and Rowland Heights.[147]

Previously, the airline operated buses for travelers in San Francisco, Houston and Abu Dhabi.[146] The San Francisco buses transported customers to/from Milpitas and Cupertino.[148] The Houston bus service served Sugar Land and Southwest Houston Chinatown.[149]

Subsidiaries and associates[edit]

Mandarin Airlines E190
Tigerair Taiwan Airbus A320

China Airlines has diversified into related industries and sectors, including ground handling, aviation engineering, and inflight catering.[150]

In 2022 China Airlines opened a major MRO facility at Taoyuan International Airport in a joint venture with Nordam.[151]

Companies with a major China Airlines Group stake include:[2]

Company Type Principal activities Incorporated in Group's equity shareholding
Cal-Asia Investment Inc. Subsidiary Holding company British Virgin Islands 100%
CAL Park Subsidiary Headquarters Taiwan 100%
China Aircraft Services Limited[152] Joint Venture Maintenance Company Hong Kong 20%
China Pacific Catering Services Limited Subsidiary Catering services Taiwan 51%
China Pacific Laundry Services Limited Subsidiary Laundry Taiwan 55%
Dynasty Holidays Subsidiary Travel agency Taiwan 51%
Global Sky Express Limited Joint Venture Cargo loading Taiwan 25%
Hwa Hsia Company Limited Subsidiary Laundry Taiwan 100%
Mandarin Airlines Subsidiary Regional airline Taiwan 93.99%
Taiwan Air Cargo Terminals Limited Subsidiary Cargo loading Taiwan 54%
Taiwan Aircraft Maintenance & Engineering Co. (TAMECO) Subsidiary MRO company Taiwan 100%
Taoyuan International Airport Services Limited Subsidiary Ground handling Taiwan 49%
Tigerair Taiwan Subsidiary Low-cost carrier Taiwan 100%[153]

Incidents and accidents[edit]

Between 1994 and 2002, China Airlines suffered four fatal accidents,[154] three of which each resulted in more than 200 deaths. The accidents contributed to the perception of the airline having a poor reputation for safety.[155] 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.[154]




B-1836, known for its role in the 1983 assassination of Ninoy Aquino, taxiing at Kai Tak Airport
  • August 21, 1983: China Airlines Flight 811, operated by a Boeing 767-200 (B-1836)[162] from Taipei, landed in Manila International Airport. A passenger on board the flight, Philippine opposition senator Benigno Aquino Jr., was returning from a self-imposed exile in the United States, only to be assassinated after being escorted from the aircraft.
  • February 19, 1985: Flight 006, operated by a Boeing 747SP (N4522V), performed an uncontrolled descent over the Pacific Ocean, resulting in substantial damage to the aircraft.[163]
  • February 16, 1986: Flight 2265, operated by a Boeing 737-200 (B-1870), crashed 19.3 km (12.0 mi; 10.4 nmi) off Makung, Penghu, killing 13. During landing, a nose-wheel tire blew. The crew performed a go-around during which the aircraft crashed; the wreckage was located on March 10 in 190 feet of water.[164]
  • May 3, 1986: Flight 334, operated by a Boeing 747-200F (B-198), was hijacked by its pilot, who landed the aircraft in Guangzhou, where he defected. The ROC government sent a delegation to discuss with their mainland counterpart regarding the return of the aircraft and two remaining crew.[165]
  • October 26, 1989: Flight 204, operated by a Boeing 737-200 (B-180), struck a mountain near Hualien, Taiwan after the crew used the climb out procedure for a different runway, causing the aircraft to make a wrong turn. All 54 passengers and crew aboard were killed.[166]


  • December 29, 1991: Flight 358, operated by a Boeing 747-200F (B-198, the same aircraft that was involved in the Flight 334 hijacking), hit a hillside near Wanli, Taiwan after separation of its No.3 & 4 engines, killing all five crew on board.[167]
  • December 7, 1992: Flight 012, operated by a McDonnell Douglas MD-11 (B-150, which then crashed as Flight 642), suffered altitude loss due to turbulence at 33,000 feet near the town of Kushimoto, Japan. The aircraft recovered from the fall and continued to Anchorage, landing there uneventfully despite the loss of its control elevators, which had been ripped off during the incident.[168]
  • November 4, 1993: Flight 605, operated by a recently delivered Boeing 747-400 (B-165), overran 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 stabilizer was explosively removed to prevent interference with Kai Tak's Instrument Landing System (ILS).[169]
  • April 26, 1994: Flight 140, operated by an Airbus A300 (B-1816), crashed while landing at Nagoya, Japan due to crew error, killing 264 of 271 on board.[170]
  • February 16, 1998: Flight 676, an Airbus A300 crashed in a residential neighborhood in Taipei, Taiwan after requesting a go-around, killing all 196 people on board and 6 on the ground.
  • August 22, 1999: Flight 642, operated by a McDonnell Douglas MD-11 (B-150), flipped over while landing at Hong Kong Airport during a typhoon. Three people were killed.[171]


  • May 25, 2002: Flight 611, operated by a Boeing 747-200B (B-18255), broke up in mid-air on the way to Chek Lap Kok International Airport in Hong Kong from Chiang Kai-shek International Airport in Taiwan. All 206 passengers and 19 crew members died. The aircraft was the last B747-200 in China Airlines' passenger fleet. The cause was improper repair after a 1980 tail-strike incident in Hong Kong's Kai Tak Airport.[172]
  • August 20, 2007: Flight 120, operated by a Boeing 737-800 (B-18616) inbound from Taipei, caught fire shortly after landing at Naha Airport in Okinawa Prefecture, Japan. After stopping on the runway, the engine started smoking and burning, later exploding and causing the aircraft to catch fire.[173] All passengers and crew were evacuated without serious injury; a ground engineer knocked over by the blast was unhurt.[174] The cause of the fire was attributed to a fuel tank puncture from a loose right wing slat bolt.[175][176]


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Further reading[edit]

  • Mols, Jozef (2023). China Airlines: The Wings of Taiwan. Airlines Series, Vol. 11. Stamford, Lincs, UK: Key Publishing. ISBN 9781802823837.

External links[edit]

Media related to China Airlines at Wikimedia Commons