Exploring the sky: Taiwan’s major airlines

Taiwan is a small island with a decent collection of airlines that offer a range of services, from long-haul international flights to regional hops. In this article, we will explore the different Taiwanese airlines and provide information on their history, services, and reputation.

China Airlines

China Airlines is the largest and best-known airline in Taiwan, founded in 1959 and largely funded by the ROC government. Despite having a reputation for being involved in the most serious accidents of any Taiwanese airline, China Airlines has been making efforts to improve its image by increasing scrutiny and avoiding any serious incidents in recent years.

Many government officials and Taiwanese citizens have expressed a desire for the airline to change its name as it often creates confusion with China’s flag carrier, Air China.


EVA Air is a relatively new airline that has gained popularity in Taiwan, founded in 1989. Originally, EVA catered to Taiwan’s older and more traditional population, highlighting the country’s rich culture. However, over time, the airline has become more like any other carrier.

EVA Air, like China Airlines, offers flights to destinations across Europe, North America, and Asia, but with a greater focus on regional Asian destinations. The airline’s flights are generally more expensive than China Airlines, but they offer a more premium experience with better service and comfort.

Starlux Airlines

Starlux Airlines is a recently established Taiwanese airline based in Taipei. It was founded by former chairman of EVA Air, Chang Kuo-wei, who left the company following an internal coup. Starlux received its first Airbus A321neo aircraft in October 2019 and launched its first flight on January 23, 2020.

Despite the impact of the pandemic leading to a cumulative operating loss of NT$11.16 billion, Starlux Airlines remains optimistic and determined to grow. In August 2022, the airline announced its plans to expand its services to North America in April 2023 and Indonesia in the future as the travel industry slowly recovers.

Starlux positions itself as a luxury airline on par with airlines such as Emirates and Singapore Airlines.

Regional Taiwanese Airlines

Mandarin Airlines, Uni Air and Tiger Air are regional Taiwanese airlines that focus on regional hops. These smaller airlines offer flights to destinations in mainland China, Japan, Southeast Asia, and other parts of Asia, including Malaysia, Singapore, South Korea, and the Philippines.

Uni Air is primarily used for domestic trips, Mandarin Airlines has more options for regional destinations. These airlines are a good choice for travelers who want to explore the region without breaking the bank.

Domestic Taiwanese Airlines

Daily Air and Uni Air are two domestic Taiwanese airlines that focus on specific destinations. Daily Air offers flights from Taitung to Orchid Island, while Uni Air is the airline of choice for travelers to the islands west of Taiwan, such as Penghu, Matsu, or Kinmen.

Cargo Airlines

Taiwan is also home to two major cargo airlines, China Airlines Cargo and EVA Air Cargo.

China Airlines Cargo, a subsidiary of China Airlines Group, operates as a member of SkyTeam Cargo and manages its parent airline’s cargo-hold capacity. China Airlines Cargo played a crucial role in carrying over 5,700 tons of cargo in 2017, making it the 10th largest in terms of freight revenue ton kilometers.

EVA Air Cargo was founded concurrently with the passenger operations of EVA Air. It has a diverse cargo operation that includes the transportation of high-tech equipment, special care items such as museum artwork, and live zoological specimens. With its goal of achieving a 50/50 split in revenues between its passenger and cargo operations, EVA Air Cargo has focused its North American cargo operations on point-to-point routes and has code-shares with international airlines including Air Nippon, British Airways World Cargo, Austrian Airlines, and Lufthansa Cargo.

Taiwan’s aviation industry is a thriving sector, with a number of major airlines making significant contributions to the country’s economy and connectivity. From the state-owned flag carrier China Airlines to the luxury airline Starlux, each of these airlines has its own unique identity and service offerings, appealing to a diverse range of travelers and cargo customers. With the industry’s continuous growth and expansion, Taiwan is well-positioned to continue its role as a major player in the global aviation industry. With its strong commitment to safety, innovation, and customer satisfaction, Taiwan’s airlines will undoubtedly continue to be a popular choice for both leisure and business travelers for years to come.

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