China Airlines was founded on December 16, 1959 when 26 retired air force pilots of the Republic of China pulled together their personal savings. Originally named CAL and had the Chinese Nationalist flag as their logo (Now a cherry blossom.). At the time of its formation no one expected that the fledgling company would become the major international carrier as well as the first wholly-owned Chinese airline corporation.

China Airlines first started out as war raged on in Southeast Asia taking dangerous supply flights into the war zones of Laos and Vietnam as well as using Catalina PBYs for charter flights. The risk paid off, and a scant few years after the inital founding, China Airlines began its first passenger airline service from Taipei to Hualien and 3 years later it was extended to Saigon (Now Ho Chi Minh City.). China Airlines grew rapidly in the following decade when Taiwan experienced an economic boom and grew to be the major company that it is today with more 27 subsidary companies including Mandarin Airlines.

However, China Airlines success is also stained with being notorious as one of the world's most dangerous airlines, having no less then 9 fatal accidents since 1970. Despite efforts in recent years to promote its current focus on safety, many people still remain weary of it.


  • Boeing
    • 747-200 -- 13
    • 747-200F -- 12
    • 737-800 -- 11
  • Airbus
    • A300-600R -- 12
    • A340-300 -- 5

Subsidary Companies

  • CAL-Dynasty International Inc.(Dynasty Properties Co. Inc.; Holiday Inn Waikiki; CAL-Dynasty Aircraft Leasing Corp.; Nexus International Express. Inc.)
  • CAL-Asia Investment Inc.; Eastern United International Logistics (Holdings) Ltd.(Hong Kong)
  • HwaHsia Company Ltd.
  • Hwa Sheng Investment Co., Ltd.
  • Abacus Distribution Systems Taiwan, Ltd.
  • Mandarin Airlines, Ltd.
  • Taiwan Aircargo Terminal Ltd.
  • China Pacific Laundry Services Ltd.
  • Dynasty Holidays, Inc.
  • China Pacific Catering Services Ltd.
  • Taoyuan International Airport Service Co., Ltd.
  • Taiwan Airport Service Co., Ltd.
  • Kaohsiung Airport Catering Services, Ltd.
  • ICAS Co., Ltd.
  • Global Sky Express Co., Ltd.
  • Asian Compressor Technology Services Co., Ltd.
  • Spacehab Taiwan Inc.
  • Jardine Air Terminal Services
  • Science Park Cargo Service Co., Ltd.
  • Abacus International Holdings Ltd.
  • Chunghwa Express Corporation
  • FAT Capital Management Co. Ltd.
  • Far Eastern Air Transport
  • Regal International Advertising Inc.
  • Trade-Van Information services Ltd.
  • Chang-I International Airport Services Pte. Ltd.


A true story about China Airlines:

When Japan and the People's Republic of China signed their air transport bilateral agreement in the 1970's, the PRC made several demands on the Japanese government aimed squarely at the Republic of China. They demanded that Japan Airlines and All Nippon Airways halt their flights to Taiwan. They also made a more peculiar demand: that any airliner carrying the ROC flag be denied landing rights at any airport served by the PRC's airline, CAAC.

This last demand was all about CAL, which used the ROC flag as its logo. Under the new arrangement, they had to end their flights to Tokyo and Osaka to make way for CAAC. Later, a JAL subsidiary, Japan Asia Airways, came in to offer flights from Japan to Taiwan.

After the opening of New Tokyo International Airport in Narita, CAAC left the older Tokyo International Airport at Haneda, which was being redesignated as a domestic airport. Suddenly, China Airlines had a loophole to get back into the Japanese market. So CAL became the only international carrier at Haneda, using a miniscule little terminal that could barely accommodate their three daily 747 flights to Taipei.

This went on for a couple of decades. In the meantime, a new Taiwanese airline, EVA Air, had started flying from Taipei to Osaka. EVA, an airline operated and supported mostly by Taiwanese nationalists, would have rather taken a piss on the Kuomintang's flag than paint it on their planes, and since they didn't have the flag, they were exempt from the bilateral.

Once China Airlines changed to their cherry blossom paint scheme, they were also exempt from the bilateral, and in 2002, they moved their Tokyo flights from Haneda to Narita, smugly pulling into the terminal alongside planes from Air China. Thus, China lost a big battle to Taiwan: the battle over Japanese airspace.

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