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China Airlines

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 China on Taiwan. The airline is not directly state-owned. However, it is owned by the China Aviation Development Foundation (中華航空事業發展基金會) which in turn is owned by the government of the Republic of China. Unlike other state-owned companies in the Republic of China, the chairman of China Airlines does not report to the Legislative Yuan.

The airline, based at Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport and with headquarters in Taipei, currently flies to destinations in Asia, Europe, North America and Oceania. Due to current politically motivated prohibitions on the Three Links, the airline does not operate regularly scheduled flights between Taiwan and mainland China. All flights serving this market are thus concentrated at Hong Kong, where it has operated since 1967. It 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 domestic competitor is EVA Air. China Airlines is expected to become a full member of SkyTeam in late 2008. Talks between the airline and the alliance started in 2007.

History

Before the Chinese Civil War, there were three airlines operating in the Republic of China. 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 Lufthansa. 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-controlled ROC government to Taiwan.

With a fleet of 2 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 Hualien became the airline's first domestic service. Growth continued and on December 1, 1966, Saigon, South Vietnam (now Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam) became the airline's first international destination. Trans-Pacific flights to San Francisco were initiated on February 2, 1970.

The next 20 years saw sporadic but far-reaching growth for the company. Routes were opened to Los Angeles, New York, London and Paris, among others (China Airline's first European destination was Amsterdam). 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: (Taipei-Anchorage-New York-Amsterdam-Dubai-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 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 international routes, e.g. Sydney and Vancouver. 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 had the practice of employing 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. The company also began to actively recruit civilian-trained pilots with proven track records. In addition, the company began recruiting new 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.

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 Airport. Instead, China Airlines used Tokyo International Airport (which is located within the special wards of Tokyo), an airport mainly used for domestic flights. On April 18, 2002, when flights were transferred to Narita.

In recent years, 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.  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. While neither the airline nor SkyTeam has made any official announcements, it is expected that China Airlines will join the alliance sometime in 2008. China Airlines would be the alliance's twelfth full member airline.

Destinations

Fleet

the China Airlines fleet consists of the following aircraft:
China Airlines Fleet
Aircraft Total Passengers
(First/Dynasty/Premium Economy/Economy)
Scheduled Routes (as of 26OCT08) Notes
Airbus A330-300 17 313 (-/36/-/277) From Taipei Taoyuan to: Hong Kong-Bangkok, Brisbane, Delhi, Fukuoka, Guam, Guangzhou, Ho Chi Minh City, Hong Kong, Tokyo Narita-Honolulu, Jakarta, Hong Kong-Jakarta, Kuala Lumpur, Nagoya, Osaka Kansai, Singapore, Sydney, Tokyo Narita, and Abu Dhabi-Vienna. From Kaohsiung to: Hong Kong. Dynasty Supreme
Airbus A340-300 6 276 (-/30/-/246) From Taipei Taoyuan to: Bangkok, Ho Chi Minh City, Hong Kong, Honolulu, Manila, Bangkok-Rome, Seoul Incheon, Tokyo Narita, and Vancouver. Replacement aircraft: Airbus A350-900XWB
Exit from service: 2015
Dynasty Supreme
Airbus A350-900XWB (14 orders)
(6 options)
327 (-/36/-/291) Entry into service: 2015
Replacing: Airbus A340
Boeing 737-800 11 158 (-/8/-/150)
168 (-/-/168)
From Taipei Taoyuan to: Chiang Mai, Hanoi, Hiroshima, Manila, Okinawa, Palau (regular scheduled flights begin 01DEC08), Penang, Phnom Penh, Phuket, Sapporo New Chitose, and various charter routes to Japan. From Kaohsiung to: Bangkok, Hong Kong, Nagoya, and Singapore. To be transferred to Mandarin Airlines
Boeing 747-400 9 397 (14/64/-/319) From Taipei Taoyuan to: Bangkok-Amsterdam, Beijing, Denpasar*, Hong Kong*, Los Angeles, Anchorage-New York JFK, San Francisco, Shanghai Pudong, and Tokyo Narita.
Boeing 747-400B 4 375 (12/49/-/314) From Taipei Taoyuan to: Denpasar*, Hong Kong*, Frankfurt, Los Angeles and Tokyo Narita. Due to rotation, this aircraft may substitute 747-400 routes. Cabin featuring PTV w/AVOD and new seats.
Boeing 747-400F 20
Embraer E190 1 96 (-/-/8/88) From Kaohsiung to: Manila. Wet leased from Mandarin Airlines.
*First Class service is not available for these routes.
the average age of the China Airlines fleet is 5.9 years old. 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 different new configurations, with 6 of the 15 planes in a two class configuration of Dynasty (Business) Class and Economy Class for flights to regional destinations in Asia and to Amsterdam, and the other 9 planes 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. However, analysts and the media have twice preemptively stated that China Airlines intends to order the Boeing 747-8i to replace their older 747-400s and Airbus A340-300s. China Airlines refuted the claims on both occasions. Prior to Lufthansa's becoming the launch customer for the 747-8i, it was strongly speculated that China Airlines could be a possible launch customer. 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 the Airbus 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 6 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 A340s, and the order was confirmed on January 22, 2008. The A350 will offer 2-class (Business and Economy) service with 327 seats. In addition, the China Airlines CEO revealed that all 737-800s would be transferred to Mandarin Airlines, which would become a larger-scale regional carrier.

Cabin

Cabin Classes

China Airlines offers four in-flight classes. Older 747-400 cabins are found on aircrafts with tail number B-18251, B-18201-8, and N168CL. Newer 747-400 cabins are found on aircrafts, B-18210, 18211, 18212, and 18215.

  • First Class: First Class is available on B747-400. On newer 747-400s (74B), First Class seats feature personal private capsules with a lie-flat bed and a 15-inch Audio-Video on Demand (AVOD) monitor. The older 747-400s (744) feature standard lie-flat seating with a 6-inch PTV (no AVOD).
  • Dynasty Supreme (Business) Class: Dynasty Supreme Class is featured on the A330-300 and the A340-300. The Dynasty Supreme Class on the A340-300 features 60-inch pitch and 150-degree recline. The Dynasty Supreme Class on the A330-300 features a smaller pitch of 45~55 inches. Both types of seating feature a 10-inch AVOD monitor.
  • Dynasty (Business) Class: Dynasty Class is featured on the 747-400 and 737-800. The Dynasty Class on the newer 747s (74B) features a similar design from the A330-300 minus the added shell around the seat. The Dynasty Class on the older 747s (744) feature a standard seat with PTV. The 737-800 is similar to the older 747-400s, but without the PTV and a smaller pitch (40 inches).
  • Economy Class: Economy Class is available in all aircrafts. Economy Class features a standard seat with a headrest. On newer 747-400s, A330-300, and A340-300, the seat is ergonomically designed for comfort and a 6-inch AVOD monitor is included.

In-flight entertainment

  • Older 747-400s (744) feature PTVs with no AVOD in Dynasty (Business) Class and First Class. Economy class on 747-400s featured overhead projection screens.
  • On 737-800s, LCD screens drop down every few rows.
  • On newer 747-400s (74B), A330-300, and A340-300, all cabin classes feature "Fantasy Sky", the new in-flight entertainment system. Fantasy Sky comes with Audio Video on Demand (AVOD) and in-flight video games, as well as aircraft exterior views (such as the nose wheel view). China Airlines intends to fit Fantasy Sky entertainment systems on all older B747-400s by the end of 2009.
  • DYNASTY is the China Airlines in-flight magazine. It has articles in English, Chinese and Japanese.
  • Sky Couch is the Fantasy Sky magazine guide.

Dynasty Flyer

Dynasty Flyer is China Airlines' frequent flyer program. The elite tiers are Gold, Emerald, and Paragon. Members can qualify for these elite tiers by earning enough airmiles or segments. 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. Elite memberships last two years.

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 that have large Taiwanese American populations.

The services include:

Incidents and accidents

Since 1970, the airline has averaged 3.21 fatal events per million flights , while the worldwide average is under 2.0

  • 2006, July 19, Flight 1682 traveling from Ho Chi Minh City to Taipei, had to make an emergency landing at Kaohsiung International Airport after a Vietnamese-American couple, who were reportedly drunk, attacked flight attendants. The husband broke the inner windowpane in the plane's cabin with his elbow. The noise caused a commotion on the plane, and two Taiwanese attendants who were fluent in Vietnamese tried to calm him down. However, he took a swing at one of the attendants. A male flight attendant was summoned to restrain the heavily built man, while the pilots asked for permission to make an emergency landing, claiming that the plane had been hijacked. The plane landed successfully without incident, and continued to Taipei.
  • 2007, June 27, China Airlines Flight AE845, an A330-300, bound from Kaoshiung to Hong Kong experienced a 'flameout' in both engines. The plane landed safely after avionics restarted the engines automatically. Neither the aircraft's crew nor the passengers were fully aware of the flameout.
  • 2007, August 20, China Airlines 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 plane 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.
  • 2007, October 5, a Boeing 737-800 overran a runway at Saga Airport, Japan. The aircraft, registry B-16805, had a 77 cm crack on the fuselage and was undergoing repairs. The airplane had returned to Saga Airport due to problems with one of its airspeed indicators along with impending bad weather in Taipei due to a typhoon. No passengers were on the flight.
  • 2007, December 8, a door on Flight 008 to Los Angeles had loud wind sounds shooting through the door cracks while climbing at 1000 feet, prompting a return to Taipei. An investigation into the matter found that the door had not been closed properly by catering staff.
  • 2008, September 20, 13 people were injured, many with broken bones, after a China Airlines Boeing 747-400 en route from Taipei struck severe turbulence during its approach into Bali.
  • 2008, October 02, at least 32 people were injured after a China Airlines plane with 147 passengers en route from Hong Kong struck severe turbulence during its approach into Bangkok.

References

External links

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