China Airlines

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China Airlines
China Airlines.png
IATA ICAO Callsign
Founded 16 December 1959; 57 years ago (16 December 1959)
Focus cities
Frequent-flyer program Dynasty Flyer
Alliance SkyTeam

Mandarin Airlines (93.99%)

Tigerair Taiwan (100%)
Fleet size 83 (incl cargo)
Destinations 103 (incl cargo)
Company slogan Journey with a caring smile
Parent company China Airlines Group
Headquarters CAL Park, Dayuan, Taoyuan City, Taiwan (Republic of China)
Key people
  • Nuan-Hsuan Ho (Chairman)[1]
  • Shih-Chien Hsieh (President)[1]
Revenue Increase NTD139.726 billion (2014)[2]
Operating income Increase NTD 1.871 billion (2014)[2]
Net income Increase NTD −0.751 billion (2014)[2]
Total assets Increase NTD 217.905 billion (2014)[2]
Total equity Decrease NTD 48.670 billion (2014)[2]
Employees 12,648[3]
China Airlines Co., Ltd.
Traditional Chinese 中華航空股份公司
Simplified Chinese 中华航空股份公司

China Airlines (CAL) (Chinese: 中華航空; pinyin: Zhōnghuá Hángkōng) (TWSE: 2610) is the flag carrier and largest airline of the Republic of China (Taiwan). It is headquartered in Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport and has 12,607 regular employees.[4] China Airlines operates over 1,400 flights weekly to 118 airports in 115 cities (including codeshare) across Asia, Europe, North America and Oceania.[5] The cargo division operates 91 pure freighter flights weekly.[6] The carrier was, in 2013, the 29th and 10th largest airline in the world in terms of passenger revenue per kilometer (RPK) and freight RPK, respectively.[2] China Airlines has three airline subsidiaries: Mandarin Airlines operates flights to domestic and low-demand regional destinations; China Airlines Cargo, a member of Skyteam Cargo, operates a fleet of freighter aircraft and manages its parent airline's cargo-hold capacity; Tigerair Taiwan is a low-cost carrier established by China Airlines and Singaporean airline group Tigerair Holdings and is wholly owned by China Airlines Group.[7]


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

With a fleet of two PBY Amphibians, China Airlines was established on December 16, 1959,[4] 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.[8] Later, with the introduction of Caravelle and Boeing 727-100s,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]

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 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.

China Airlines Boeing 747–200 at Amsterdam Schiphol International Airport

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. 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]

MD-11 wearing the new China Airlines livery at Taoyuan International Airport in 2001

As Taiwan's flag carrier, China Airlines has been affected by disputes over the political status of Taiwan, and under pressure from Mainland 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,[8] 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.[9] The plum blossom (Prunus mume) is Taiwan'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).[10]

During the 1990s and early 2000s, China Airlines placed orders for various airliners including the Airbus A330, Airbus 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.

Joining SkyTeam and "NexGen" Plan (2010–present)[edit]

China Airlines signed an agreement to begin the process of joining the SkyTeam airline alliance on September 14, 2010[11] and officially became a full member on September 28, 2011.[12] 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.

In December 2013, China Airlines announced its new joint venture with Singaporean low cost carrier Tigerair Holdings to establish Tigerair Taiwan. The new airline flew its inaugural flight to Singapore on 26 September 2014 and became the first low-cost carrier in Taiwan. China Airlines Group currently holds a 90 percent share in the new carrier (China Airlines 80%, Mandarin Airlines 10%), while Tigerair Holdings holds the other 10 percent.[7]

A China Airlines Boeing 777-300ER at Frankfurt Airport in 2016.

In March 2014, China Airlines announced that it will be launching a "NexGen (Next Generation)" plan to complement the delivery of its first Boeing 777-300ER. The plan, designed to refresh the carrier's brand image, includes fleet replacements, product innovations, and new uniform introductions. Through cooperating with designers from the Greater China region, the carrier hopes to introduce unique product offerings that can showcase the beauty of the East and the cultural creativity of Taiwan.[13]

The first phase of the plan has been rolled out following the delivery of China Airlines' first Boeing 777-300ER and the renovation of the carrier's lounge at Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport Terminal 1. In June 2015, the William Chang-designed new uniforms debuted; in August 2015, the flight attendants started appearing in the new uniforms.[14] In September 2016, the airline received its first Airbus A350-900XWB, featuring a second version of next generation China Airlines cabin design. Future phases of the plan includes the retirement of the Boeing 747-400 and Airbus A340-300. Also anticipated is the announcement of new narrow-body and regional wide-body orders. Following the retirement of 747s from North American routes, China Airlines has terminated its First Class services. First Class seats are now marketed as Business Class ones.[13][15]

In January 2015, China Airlines established Taiwan Aircraft Maintenance & Engineering Co. (TAMECO), an airline maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) company which will start operations in June 2017. TAMECO will focus on Boeing 777, 737 and Airbus A350, A320 fuselage maintenance.[16]

On 25 June 2016, the Taoyuan Flight Attendants Union, representing some 2500 cabin crew from China Airlines, staged the first strike in Taiwanese aviation history. A total of 122 China Airlines-passenger flights from Taoyuan International Airport and Taipei Songshan Airport were cancelled as a result. The strike ended within a day following government intervention, replacement of top officials, and management-representatives conditionally agreeing to all seven demands from the union.[17]


CAL Park, headquarters for the company

China Airlines has its headquarters, CAL Park (Chinese: 華航園區; pinyin: Huáháng Yuánqū[18]), 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.[19]

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.[20] 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.[21]


Livery and uniforms[edit]

China Airlines Crew Cardboard Cut-Out (New Uniforms) at Taipei Songshan Airport

Prior to introducing the current "plum blossom" livery in 1995, the livery of China Airlines featured the flag of Taiwan on the tail due to commercial and political reasons.[9]

In 2011, after joining Skyteam, the carrier made alterations to its logo as part of refreshing the brand image. A new font was chosen for the company name and a new approach was taken for the appearance of the plum blossom trademark.[22]

China Airlines has had many uniforms since its establishment in 1959. The current uniform was introduced in 2015 to celebrate the carrier entering a "NexGen" Next Generation Era. Designed by Hong Kong-based costume designer William Chang, the new uniforms are now worn by flight attendants. Ground staff will start wearing the uniforms in September 2015.[14]

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 the 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–present)


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

China Airlines currently operates over 1,400 flights weekly (including pure cargo flights) to 118 airports in 115 cities on four continents (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.[23]

China Airlines has its largest hub at Taiwan 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 and 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. 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.[24]

The expansion of China Airlines international presence has long been limited by the political status of Taiwan. Currently, the carrier is still unable to offer flights to destinations such as Paris. Flights to Mainland China were also 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.[25] 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.[26] Since then, China has quickly become the second largest market for China Airlines, with over 130 flights to 33 destinations across the Mainland.[citation needed]

Route plans[edit]

Over the period between 2011 and 2015, China Airlines focused on strengthening its regional network; from 2015 to 2020, the carrier is expanding its European, North American and Oceanian network with the new long-haul fleet.[2] From 1 December 2017, there will be four weekly services to London Gatwick Airport,[27][28] Besides London, the carrier is considering launching European destinations such as Barcelona, Madrid, Milan, and Paris; in North America, Boston, Chicago, Seattle, and Toronto.[29][30][31]

Other long-haul network plans include upgrading aircraft types and altering routings. China Airlines has replaced the Boeing 747-400 with Boeing 777 on all passenger flights to Frankfurt, Los Angeles, New York City, and San Francisco. The Airbus A350 XWB has replaced the Airbus A340-300 on nonstop services to Amsterdam, Rome, and Vienna. Routes to Honolulu, San Francisco, and Vancouver are scheduled to be flown with the A350 starting 2017.[29][32]

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, Japanese routes are seeing frequency-cuts due to oversupply in the market while Mainland-business is also being downsized due to tense cross-strait relations.[33]

Codeshare agreements[edit]

China Airlines codeshares with the following airlines:[34][35]

In addition, China Airlines has a codeshare agreement with Deutsche Bahn (DB). Under the agreement, China Airlines places its CI code on seven Frankfurt-initiating DB routes, including those to Cologne, Düsseldorf, Hamburg, Hanover, Munich, Nuremberg, and Stuttgart.[39]


Current Fleet[edit]

As of May 2017 the China Airlines fleet consists of the following aircraft:[40]

China Airlines Fleet
Aircraft In service Orders Passengers Notes
C W S Y Total
Airbus A330-300 24 36 277 313 313-seat aircraft to be refurbished to 307-seat configuration[41]
30 277 307
Airbus A350-900 6 8 32 31 36 207 306
Boeing 737-800 19 8 150 153
158 161
Boeing 747-400 6 61 314 375 Business Class seats include 12 former First Class seats.
319 380
Boeing 777-300ER 10 40 62 30 226 358
China Airlines Cargo Fleet
Boeing 747-400F 18
Total 83 8

Retired Fleet[edit]

China Airlines Retired Fleet
Aircraft Fleet Introduced Retired Notes
Airbus A300B4-200 6 1985 2001
Airbus A300-600R 14 1987 2008
Airbus A320-200 2 1991 1997
Airbus A340-300 6 2001 2017 Five aircraft are currently stored
Boeing 707 6 1969 1985
Boeing 727 4 1967 1982
Boeing 737-200 7 1976 1997
Boeing 737-400 6 1996 1999
Boeing 747-100 2 1976 1984
Boeing 747-200 4 1978 2002 3 were converted into freighters, 1 crashed in 2002
Boeing 747-200F 3 1980 2003
Boeing 747-200SF 8 1992 2002 Five aircraft were leased from Atlas Air
Boeing 747SP 3 1977 1998
Boeing 767-200 2 1983 1989 Disposed to Air New Zealand
McDonnell Douglas MD-11 5 1992 2002
PBY Catalina 2 1959 1966 China Airlines' first aircraft, from ROC Air Force

Renewal plans[edit]

China Airlines Airbus A350-900 with Mikado pheasant livery

In 2008, China Airlines firmed up an order for 14 Airbus A350-900 aircraft along with another 6 options.[42] In 2012, an order for 6 Boeing 777-300ER and a lease agreement with GECAS for 4 more of the type were confirmed. Both the Airbus A350-900 and Boeing 777-300ER will be replacements of the carrier's Airbus A340-300 and Boeing 747-400 on intercontinental routes. Deliveries of the Boeing 777-300ER started in 2014 and were completed in 2016. The first Airbus A350-900 was delivered in 2016.[29] The six options for the A350 will expire in late 2017. The decision to switch the options to firm orders will be based upon the performance of the aircraft on European nonstop routes.[43]

A regional wide-body order is currently in the early phases of being planned. A retrofit program is also underway for the 14 self-owned A330. The first retrofitted A330 is expected to roll out 2Q 2017 with 30 angled lie-flat seats in Business Class and 277 seats in Economy Class. Fleet overhaul is expected to be done at a rate of one aircraft per month. Upon completion, the program will homogenize the layout of the A330-300 fleet.[41][15]

Regarding the narrow-body fleet, the airline is planning on ordering 35 narrow-body aircraft for itself and its subsidiaries Mandarin Airlines and Tigerair Taiwan. Types in consideration include the Boeing 737MAX and Airbus A320neo. The order was originally planned to include around 50 aircraft. However, due to drastic market changes, including the decline of Mainland visitors and oversupply in the Japanese markets, the type and size of the new narrow-body fleet is being reconsidered.[44]

The airline has been leasing various Boeing 737-800s to meet short term demands. Of the wet-leased planes, one 737 has been dry-leased to subsidiary Mandarin Airlines. One more 737 will be leased to Mandarin Airlines in 2016.[44]

Retirement plans[edit]

The Airbus A340-300 fleet has been fully retired in 2017

In June 2014, China Airlines announced plans to, by the end of 2017, retire all Boeing 747-400 delivered before 2004, partially retire the Boeing 737-800 fleet, while fully retiring the Airbus A340-300 fleet. As of June 2017, the company has completely retired its Airbus A340-300 fleet while partially retiring the Boeing 747–400 fleet. Many of the aircraft are stored at the aircraft boneyard at Victorville Airport while a handful have been sold. All stored passenger aircraft are to be sold eventually.[2][45][46][47]

Regarding the Boeing 747-400 passenger fleet, due to falling oil prices, only the PW engine-equipped 747s (all produced before 1998) will be retired in the upcoming years. The 4 newer GE engine-equipped 747s (delivered between 2004 and 2005) will be kept to operate high demand cross-strait and regional flights. As for the Boeing 737-800 fleet, 6 aircraft are now put up for sale.[48][49]

As for subsidiary Mandarin Airlines, China Airlines announced that two ERJ190s will be retired and replaced by two new Boeing 737-800s.[44]

Cargo fleet plans[edit]

China Airlines Cargo Boeing 747-400F

China Airlines Cargo, the freight division of China Airlines, currently operates a fleet of 18 freighters to 33 destinations across Asia, Europe and North America, in addition to utilising the cargo space on passenger aircraft. Over the past few years, it has been suffering from falling freight demands and has stored 3 Boeing 747-400Fs at Victorville Airport.[50] In early 2015, due to improving global economic conditions, the carrier decided to reactivate 1 stored freighter plane. However, as demand has once again decreased, the plan has been put on hold.[51]

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.[52] Currently, China Airlines has a total of 7 special livery aircraft in service.

Boeing co-branded liveries[edit]

'Blue Whale' B-18210

China Airlines has twice partnered with Boeing to introduce planes carrying the combined livery-design of the two companies. The first co-branded livery aircraft was a Boeing 747-400, which first flew in 2004 and was painted back to the original livery in 2012. The second co-branded livery aircraft was painted on a Boeing 777-300ER and delivered in May 2016.[53]

Plane currently carrying the hybrid livery:

Plane once carrying the livery is listed below:

  • B-18210 (Boeing 747-400) - Nicknamed 'Blue Whale'; first aircraft in the world to use Boeing’s co-branded livery on the 747-400[53]

"Flying Ambassador of Taiwan” series[edit]

"Mikado Pheasant" B-18901

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 as 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.

Plane currently part of the series:

Skyteam alliance livery[edit]

Skyteam B-18311

China Airlines has two aircraft, listed below, painted in the Skyteam alliance livery:

  • B-18211 (Boeing 747-400) – Currently the only Boeing 747 wearing the Skyteam livery
  • B-18311 (Airbus A330-300) – Previously wearing the "Sweet" Fruit Livery

Plane once part of the series is listed below:

  • B-18206 (Boeing 747-400) – First Boeing 747 to wear the Skyteam livery

Taiwanese culture and creativity series[edit]

'Welcome To Taiwan' B-18355

In 2013, China Airlines revealed plans start a series of Taiwan-themed special livery aircraft. The carrier will collaborate with Taiwanese artists, cultural workers, and tourism bureaus to design the special liveries.[55]

Planes part of the series are listed below:

Plane once part of the series is listed below:

Other existing special liveries[edit]

Other retired special liveries[edit]

50th anniversary series[edit]

In 2009, China Airlines decorated one plane of each of its plane type with the 50th anniversary logo. All planes of the series are now wearing the regular corporate livery or another special livery.

Planes once part of the series are listed below:

Cabin classes[edit]

Business Class[edit]

Business Class, formerly known as Dynasty Class, is offered on all China Airlines aircraft.

Premium Business Class[edit]

China Airlines Boeing 777-300ER Premium Business Class

Premium Business Class is available on the Boeing 777-300ERs and Airbus A350-900.[29] The seats are configured in a 1-2-1 layout, offering every passenger direct aisle access. The seat is 78 inch long in full flat mode. Each seat features natural woodgrain table, adjustable reading lights, multiple storage bins, AC and USB sockets and an 18-inch multiple-touch screen with touchscreen-control. Turndown service is offered by cabin crew upon request while a self-service galley bar, named as Sky Lounge, offers snacks, instant noodles, drinks, and books for passengers during in-flight.[29][57]

Former First Class seats[edit]

China Airlines First Class Seat In Lie-Flat Mode

China Airlines has terminated First Class services since 1 July 2015. However, it still offers the hardware product on the Boeing 747 aircraft and markets the seats as Business Class ones. There are 12 flat-bed First Class seats located in each of the three-class Boeing 747s nose sections. Each seat features a 15.1-inch personal screen with Audio and Video On Demand (AVOD), USB port, universal power outlet, and noise cancelling headphone. Turndown service is offered by cabin crew upon request.[58]

Recliner and angle-flat seats[edit]

On the long haul Airbus A330-300s, there are 36 shell seats with 63" of pitch and 166° of recline; on the short haul A330s, there are 30 shell seats with 52" of pitch and 140° of recline. On Airbus A340-300s, there are 30 recliner-style seats with 60" inches of pitch and 150° of recline. All Business Class seats on the Airbus fleet have in-seat power and personal television screens.

Boeing 747 aircraft equipped with First Class flatbed-seats have 49 Business Class recliner seats, while those without First Class have 70. All seats offer 60" of pitch and in-seat power. The recliner seats of the 375-seat 747s have 140° of recline and 10.4" IFE displays, while the shelled angled-lie-flat seats of the refurbished 380 and 389-seat 747s have 160° of recline and 15" IFE displays. Boeing 737-800 aircraft are equipped with 8 recliners styles seats with 40" of pitch.

Premium Economy Class[edit]

China Airlines Boeing 777-300ER Premium Economy Class

Premium Economy Class is offered on the Boeing 777-300ER and Airbus A350-900XWB. The class features fixed-back seats, 12.1-inch multiple-touch screens, USB ports, universal power outlets, footrests, leg-rests, and tables with adjustable tablet holders. Passengers traveling in Premium Economy Class will receive complimentary amenity kits, slippers and inflatable neck-rests. The seat pitch is approximately 39 inch.[57]

On the Taipei – Vancouver route, the deployed Boeing 747–400 also offers Premium Economy Class product. It utilizes the existing recliner Business Class seats and allows passengers to pay lower fares for better hardware facilities.[59]

Economy Class[edit]

Economy Class on all aircraft features 31–32" of pitch and, except on Boeing 737 aircraft, IFE screens ranging from 6.5" to 11.1" inch size.

Family Couch[edit]

Family Couch is featured on long haul flights operated by the Boeing 777-300ER and the Airbus A350-900XWB.[29] It is a set of three Economy class seats, in the first 10 rows on the right of the Economy Class cabin on the 777 and first 4 rows on the A350, that can be easily converted into a large surface area. By booking three adjacent Family Couch seats on long-haul flights, passengers can lie flat on their backs.[29][57][60]

In-flight services[edit]

Meal services[edit]

Ta-a noodles offered in Business Class
China Airlines Economy Class meal (seafood curry with rice)

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. Mixed nuts are offered to customers in all classes before flight while pre-flight drinks are served exclusively to First and Business Class passengers.

Self-Service Galley Bar[edit]

China Airlines Boeing 777-300ER Sky Lounge

The Boeing 777-300ER and Airbus A350-900 of China Airlines features a galley bar, Sky Lounge, for Premium Business Class passengers to serve themselves with coffee, tea, alcoholic beverages, cup noodles, or snacks. The bar area also features social areas, located next to the exits, and books selected by Eslite Bookstore.[57]

In-flight entertainment[edit]

China Airlines PTV Welcome Screen

Fantasy Sky, the in-flight entertainment system of China Airlines, is available on all aircraft types excluding the Boeing 737–800. The system comes in three languages: Traditional Chinese, English and Japanese. Over 100 movies are offered in addition to television shows, songs, and video games. Other functions include exterior camera views, company information, and connecting flight data (available prior to landing). Furthermore, on the Boeing 777-300ER, "Fantasy Sky" features Duty Free catalogues, E-Books, surveys and chatrooms.[57]

Regarding personal electronic devices, China Airlines, in accordance with governmental regulations, allows passengers to use electronics, storable in the seat pocket and under flight mode, throughout the journey. Digital devices heavier than 1 kg can only be used above 10,000 feet. Furthermore, after landing and during long delays, data roaming will be allowed under the captain's permission.[61]

In-flight connectivity (Wi-Fi)[edit]

In-flight Wi-Fi, utilizing the T-Mobile systems and Ku band satellite disks, is available on the Boeing 777-300ER and Airbus A350-900 once the plane reaches cruising altitude. Passengers can enjoy internet connection by paying through the system. There are also free services such as news articles and weather information. Phone calls and video chat are not permitted on the system.[29][57]

In-flight magazines[edit]

China Airlines In-flight Magazines

China Airlines publishes a total of 3 in-flight magazines for its passengers: DYNASTY, Fantasy Sky, and Sky Boutique.

DYNASTY, the China Airlines magazine, 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.

Fantasy Sky, China Airlines' in-flight entertainment guide, provides information on the movies, videos, music, and radio channels being offered.

Sky Boutique is China Airlines' duty-free catalogue.

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.[62]

Dynasty Lounges[edit]

China Airlines' airline lounges are called Dynasty Lounge and Dynasty Supreme Lounge. There are a total of 9 China Airlines lounges at 7 different airports. Lounge services at other China Airlines destinations are offered by Skyteam, partner airlines, or local operators.

Dynasty Supreme Lounge[edit]

The Dynasty Supreme Lounge is exclusive for Dynasty Flyer Emerald and Paragon card holders. Currently, there is only one Dynasty Supreme Lounge, located in Terminal 2 at Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport. The lounge features 65 seats, suites in different sizes, and shower rooms. Dining services and computers are offered while Wi-Fi is available throughout the lounge.[63]

Dynasty Lounge[edit]

TPE T1 Lounge Exclusive Area
TPE T1 Lounge Business Class Area

The Dynasty Lounge is available to Business Class passengers and Dynasty Flyer Gold, Emerald, and Paragon card holders. Two-section lounges include an Exclusive Area, for Dynasty Flyer Emerald and Paragon card holders, and a Business Class Area, for Business Class passengers and Dynasty Flyer Gold card holders.

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.[64]

Location of Dynasty Lounges are listed below

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 15 and provides a total of 230 seats. Facilities include VIP room, lounge area, dining area with a hot and cold buffet of international cuisine, bar, business centre, TV room, yoga room, and shower rooms. Regarding connectivity, there are work stations, charging points for electronic devices, complimentary Wi-Fi access.[65]

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.[66]

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.[67]

Previously, the airline operated buses for travelers in San Francisco, Houston and Abu Dhabi.[66] The San Francisco buses transported customers to/from Milpitas and Cupertino.[68] The Houston bus service served Sugar Land and Southwest Houston Chinatown.[69]

Pacific Greenhouse Gases Measurement (PGGM) Project[edit]

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 two aircraft: B-18806 (Airbus A340-300) in June 2012 and B-18317 (Airbus A330-300) in July 2016. B-18806 also wore "The Official Airline for Climate Monitoring" special livery. Between July 2012 and December 2016, the two aircraft collected greenhouse gases-data from a total of 3559 flights. In May 2017, B-18806 was retired. Another A330, B-18316, will have IAGOS installed by mid-2017. B-18316 and B-18317 are expected to continue collecting data until 2027. [3]

Subsidiaries and associates[edit]

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

Companies with a major China Airlines Group stake include:[4]

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[70] 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 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%[71]

Incidents and accidents[edit]

Between 1994 and 2002, China Airlines suffered four fatal accidents,[72] three of which each resulted in more than 200 deaths. The accidents contributed to the airline having a poor reputation for safety, partly blamed on an air force-influenced pilot culture.[73] 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.[72]

  • On 2 January 1969, Flight 227, a Douglas C-47A, struck the side of Mount Dawu (大武山, elevation 3090 m), Taiwan after encountering turbulence and a downdraft. The aircraft was operating a domestic scheduled passenger flight from Taitung Airport to Kaohsiung International Airport. All 24 passengers and crew were killed.[74]
  • On 12 August 1970, Flight 206, a NAMC YS-11A, struck a ridge in thick fog while on approach to Taipei, killing 14 of 31 on board.[75]
  • On 20 November 1971, Flight 825, a Caravelle III aircraft, blew up after a bomb on it exploded, causing the deaths of 25 people over the Penghu Islands.[76]
  • On 26 March 1975, Douglas C-47A B-1553 crashed at Kompong Som following a mid-air collision with a Cessna L-19 Bird Dog.[77]
  • On 11 September 1979, Boeing 707-320C, registration B-1834, crashed off Chiang Kai-shek International Airport shortly after takeoff during a training flight, killing all six crew on board.[78]
  • On 27 February 1980, Flight 811, a CAL Boeing 707-300C, registration B-1826, crashed short of the runway at Manila International Airport, killing two of 135 on board.[79]
  • On 21 August 1983, Flight 811, a Boeing 767–200 from Taipei, landed in Manila International Airport. Benigno Aquino Jr. the former senator in Philippines was assassinated after being escorted from the plane.
  • On 19 February 1985, Flight 006, a Boeing 747SP, performed an uncontrolled descent over the Pacific Ocean resulting in substantial damage to the aircraft.[80]
  • On 16 February 1986, Flight 2265, a Boeing 737–200, crashed 12 mi off Makung, Penghu, killing 13. During landing, a nosewheel tire blew. The crew performed a go-around during which the aircraft crashed; the wreckage was found on March 10 in 190 feet of water.[81]
  • On 3 May 1986, Flight 334, a Boeing 747-200F, was hijacked by its pilot, who landed the plane in Guangzhou, China where he defected. The ROC government sent a delegation to discuss with their mainland counterpart regards the return of the plane and 2 remaining crew.[82]
  • On 26 October 1989, Flight 204, a Boeing 737–200, struck a mountain near Hualien, Taiwan after the crew used the climbout procedure of the incorrect runway, causing the aircraft to make a wrong turn. All 54 passengers and crew aboard were killed.[83]
  • On 29 December 1991, Flight 358, a Boeing 747-200F (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.[84]
  • On 4 November 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 harbor. All 396 people on board were safely evacuated but the aircraft was written off. The vertical stabilizer was dynamited away due to its interference with Kai Tak's ILS systems.[85]
  • On 26 April 1994, Flight 140, an Airbus A300, crashed while landing at Nagoya, Japan due to crew error, killing 264 of 271 on board.[86]
  • On 16 February 1998, Flight 676, an Airbus A300, crashed after a failed missed-approach at Chiang Kai-shek International Airport in Taiwan, killing all 196 aboard along with 7 on the ground, including ROC Central Bank chief Hsu Yuan-Dong.[87]
  • On 22 August 1999, Flight 642, a McDonnell Douglas MD-11, flipped over while landing at Hong Kong airport during a typhoon. Three people were killed.[88]
  • On 25 May 2002, Flight 611, a Boeing 747-200B, broke up in mid-air on the way to Hong Kong 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 747-200 in China Airlines' passenger fleet. The cause was improper repair after a tailstrike incident in Hong Kong in 1980.[89]
  • On 20 August 2007, Flight 120, a Boeing 737–800 inbound from Taipei caught fire shortly after landing at Naha Airport in Okinawa Prefecture, Japan. After stopping on the tarmac, the engine started smoking and burning, and later exploded causing the aircraft to catch fire.[90] 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.[91] 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.[92][93]

See also[edit]


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External links[edit]

Media related to China Airlines at Wikimedia Commons