SETN is reporting that when asked about changing the name of China Airlines to avoid confusion overseas, Transport Minister Lin Chia-lung (林佳龍) replied that although the Transport Ministry is the largest shareholder in the airline, it would be better to get a consensus with the general public, then discuss the issue.
Clearly Taiwan having a flagship airline with the name China Airlines is confusing, and with widespread fear over the spread of the Wuhan Coronavirus in China, it is causing headaches for the airline. Changing the name would make erase much confusion, especially if it were to be renamed Taiwan Airlines. That isn’t likely to happen, however–the People’s Republic of China would almost certainly object to Taiwan Airlines with the government as the largest shareholder, seeing it as further move towards “independence”. Considering how much money the airline makes from the Chinese market, they are likely to think twice about using Taiwan Airlines as their name.
If the government moves towards changing the name, they would likely keep the current Chinese name, which uses the more neutral “zhonghua” (中華, which refers to “Chineseness” generally) and not “zhongguo” (中國, “China” as a country). They would also likely use a more neutral name, like “Plum Blossom Airlines” referencing their symbol, or something similarly non-political.
Image courtesy of China Airlines Facebook page