Ethan Yang, special to The China Post, Taiwan
·7 分鐘 (閱讀時間)

【看CP學英文】台灣的立法院於7月22日表決通過建議將台灣最大的國際航空公司之一:「中華航空公司」 (China Airlines) 的英文名稱更名。這樣的提議,立即引發了各種疑問:這樣做的成本是否過高?中華航空公司是否會因此喪失航權?

Taiwan’s Legislative Yuan voted on Wednesday to work towards renaming China Airlines, one of the national air carriers. Such a proposal immediately prompted various questions: Would doing so be prohibitively expensive? Would the airline lose aviation rights as a result of the act?

航空業的複雜程度超乎想像,故難以提供此細微議題絕對明確的答案。雖然,把台灣的國籍航空「中華航空公司China Airlines」更改英文名字,會有非常大的爭議,但讓我們暫時撇開政治上的兩極化角度,而從商業的角度分析,什麼才是對中華航空公司最有利的。

The airline industry is unimaginably complex, so there is no definite answer to such a nuanced topic. While the issue of renaming Taiwan’s national airline is inherently controversial, let us move away from political polarization and analyze what is best for China Airlines, from a business perspective.

品牌重塑的成本 | The Cost of Rebranding


Firstly, if China Airlines were to rebrand itself to reflect a more Taiwanese identity, it is undeniable that the airline would incur costs.


This is because airlines logos appear everywhere: from check-in counters, lounges, to even the napkins passengers use onboard. So yes, it would be a significant investment for China Airlines to repaint their planes to rebrand across their network.


However, an airline’s profitability is as much determined by revenue than it is affected by costs. In the long term, if an airline is able to attract more customers than now, such rebranding efforts would pay off.

更改中華航空公司的英文名稱「China」可解決過往的一些問題。例如,許多英語系國家的人認為「China」一詞帶有負面含義,且他們聽到「China Airlines」時,也無法將其與台灣連結在一起。

Rebranding China Airlines could address previous issues. For example, many people in English-speaking countries believe the word “China” has negative connotations, and they don’t associate the airline with Taiwan when they hear about “China” Airlines.

此外,中華航空 (China Airlines) 經常被與中國政府擁有的中國國際航空(Air China)混淆。近年來,因為名字上的混淆,全球大多數人無法區分這兩家航空公司。因此,與中國國際航空相關的飛安意外事故和客服事件,皆損害了台灣國籍航空公司的聲譽。

In addition, China Airlines is often confused with Air China, which is owned by the Chinese government. In recent years, safety and service incidents associated with Air China have damaged the Taiwanese airline’s reputation, as the majority of the world simply cannot tell the two carriers apart, largely due to the confusing naming.


On the other hand, CAL’s main competitor, EVA Air, is well known as a Taiwanese company offering high standards of flight safety and service. If China Airlines can change a name that has made marketing difficult in the past, the benefits of rebranding could outweigh the potential costs.

航權 | Aviation Rights


The second area of concern from China Airlines’ perspective would be aviation rights, which grants airlines the privilege to enter, fly over, or land in another country’s airspace.


Such rights, critical to any airline’s operations, are as a result of decades of negotiations between airline companies and regulatory agencies. Some have indicated the possibility of China Airlines losing these rights because of a name change, but it is important to understand that rebranding does not have to include changing the legal name.

舉例而言,以阿姆斯特丹作為基地的歐洲大型航空公司是以 KLM Royal Dutch Airlines(荷蘭皇家航空)做為形象名稱,但此航空公司註冊的法定名稱則為Koninklijke Luchtvaart Maatschappij。

For instance, the major European airline based in Amsterdam is branded as KLM Royal Dutch Airlines, but the three letters KLM stand for its registered legal name, Koninklijke Luchtvaart Maatschappij.

以類似的方式,中華航空也許可以在英文名稱上更名為「CAL Formosa Airlines」,並同時維持其法定名稱「中華航空」,以避免損及航權。

In a similar fashion, China Airlines could perhaps rebrand as “CAL Formosa Airlines,” while retaining its formal name, to avoid compromising its aviation rights.

政治考量 | Political Considerations


Finally, while airlines tend to stay out of politics, companies such as China Airlines also have to consider its ability to continue flying into existing markets, particularly China.


Critics of the idea to rename China Airlines have voiced concerns about angering the Communist Party in Beijing, and have speculated that the Chinese government would ban CAL from flying into Chinese airspace.


While such a situation would indeed be unfavorable, and the possibility of occurrence cannot be ruled out, CAL could minimize risk by choosing a more politically neutral name.


For example, by utilizing words such as “Formosa” or “Taipei”, the airline could stay out of the Taiwan-China debate and continue serving its existing passengers with minimal controversy.

總結來說,即使不將中華航空的英文名稱China Airlines更改為「Taiwan Airlines」,該公司也可以通過將「China」從其英文名稱中刪除,來回應人們建議改名的聲音,並同時避免名字所引起的混淆和爭議。

At the end of the day, even without changing China Airlines’ name to “Taiwan Airlines”, the company can respond to the voices of the people by removing “China” from its name and avoid confusion and controversy altogether.