Friday, 16 December 2016

Happy Birthday China Airlines

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CHINA AIRLINES 747-409 B-18215 (CN 33737)
Photo: Judy Berry

China Airlines is the flag carrier and the largest airline of the Republic of China. With its head office at Taiwan's Taoyuan International Airport it was established on the 16th December 1959 with its shares completely held by the Republic of China Government. It was founded by a retired air force officer and initially concentrated on charter flights using two PBY Amphibians. Early 1960, China Airlines was able to establish its first scheduled international route from Taipei to Saigon (now Ho Chi Minh City), marking the official start in international aviation. Then in October 1962, a flight from Taipei to Hualien became the airline's first domestic service. Later, with the introduction of Caravelle and Boeing 727-100s, the airline introduced international flights to South Vietnam, Hong Kong, and Japan. With the airlines first two Boeing 707 aircraft, trans-Pacific flights to San Francisco via Tokyo were initiated on the 2nd February 1970. 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. Prior to introducing the current "plum blossom" livery in 1995, the livery of China Airlines featured Taiwan's flag on the tail. The livery-change was due to political pressure from the Chinese government. The mainland government prohibited any aircraft displaying Taiwan's flag to land in the mainland, Hong Kong and Macau. It also pressured other countries to carry out similar bans. This forced China Airlines to change its corporate identity in order to avoid having operations affected. In June 2014, China Airlines announced plans to, by the end of 2017, retire all Boeing 747-400 aircraft delivered before 2004, partially retire the Boeing 737-800 fleet, while fully retiring their Airbus A340-300 fleet.
China Airlines currently has 86 aircraft servicing 118 destinations and employs 11,200 people.

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