Air India now refers to Taiwan as Chinese Taipei



  • Air India has caved to China’s attempts to strong-arm countries and companies into recognising Taiwan as a part of ‘One China’.
  • On 25 April, China's Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) sent a letter to 36 foreign airlines pressuring them to stop referring to Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan as independent countries.
  • China’s economic clout has led to many international airlines including Air France, Air Canada, Lufthansa, British Airways, Air Canada, Finnair, Malaysian Airlines and now Air India to comply to the diktat.

So it seems that India’s national carrier, Air India, has caved to China’s attempts to strong-arm countries and companies into recognising Taiwan as a part of ‘One China’. The airline has changed its reference to Taiwan on its website to Chinese Taipei; it now refers to Taiwan airport as “Taipei, Taoyuan International Airport, TPE, Chinese Taipei.”

According to an Air India spokesperson, the request to ‘update’ the name was done in adherence to an ‘advice’ from the Ministry of External Affairs.




Now, while Air India does not service Taiwan directly, it does have a code-sharing agreement with Air China, which means that Air India can sell seats in Air China under its own airline designator. Basically, this agreement allows two distinct carriers to share the same flight.

On 25 April, China's Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) sent a letter to 36 foreign airlines, including Air India, pressuring them to stop referring to Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan as independent countries on their websites and marketing materials by 25 May.

One such letter to United Airlines was obtained by Washington Post according to which, if these demands were not met, China threatened to punish the carriers by imposing, “Civil Aviation Industry Credit Management Trial Measures” - which is some sort of credit score being developed to rank aviation companies and “make a record of your company’s serious dishonesty and take disciplinary actions against your company”.

While Taiwan maintains its stance as an independent country in East Asia, China insists that the rogue island is a part of the country. This tussle has placed numerous international companies in a sticky situation.

However, China’s undeniable economic clout has led to many international airlines including Air France, Air Canada, Lufthansa, British Airways, Air Canada, Finnair, Malaysian Airlines and now Air India to comply to the diktat.

In fact, this clout extends beyond only airlines. China has bullied many big multinationals including Mercedes-Benz, Zara, Marriott, GAP and Japanese retailer Muji into changing its references to Taiwan, Tibet, Hong Kong and Macau.

Currently, only 18 countries maintain their diplomatic alliance with Taiwan and India is not among them. And while the White House has rubbished these threats and called it “Orwellian nonsense”, India is perhaps not as surefooted and has not commented on the matter, yet.

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