A paint job on a wide body jetliner can cost US$100,000 to US$200,000, depending on the number of colors involved. Credit: Flickr.

Should Taiwan-based China Airlines change its name?

A Taiwanese group based in the US believes so — it has launched a petition and calling on President Tsai Ing-wen to change the name of China Airlines to “Taiwan Airlines” as countries mistakenly associate it with Communist China and Covid-19.

On Thursday, the Taiwanese American Senior Society – East Bay & Washington DC launched a petition on the website Change.org calling for the name change, Taiwan News reported.

The petition’s creators pointed out that the airline’s current name has led to a “fiasco” in several countries over travel restrictions to contain the spread of the Wuhan coronavirus from China, the report said.

The group stated that on Jan. 30, Italy included China Airlines (as well as EVA Air) in its bans on flights to and from China. On Feb. 1, Vietnam followed suit, although the ban was soon lifted after an outcry from Taiwan, the report said.

The Philippines also imposed a travel ban on all visitors from Taiwan on Feb. 10, allegedly because of President Rodrigo Duterte’s “one China” policy.

However, after “appeals made by concerned groups,” including Filipino employees of I-Mei Foods Co., the Philippines lifted the ban on Feb. 14, the report said.

The creators of the petition then called on Tsai to “take proactive steps toward the action of changing ‘China Airlines’ to more identity-driven ‘Taiwan Airlines.'”

The petitioners pointed out that the no referendum or constitutional amendment would be needed to make the change, but they did acknowledge that the change could affect operations, revenues and aviation rights, the report said.

The petition has thus far gained 11,683 signatures. Those wishing to sign the petition can do so by visiting its official page on Change.org.

According to online sources, a paint job on a wide body jetliner can cost US$100,000 to US$200,000, depending on the number of colors involved, and a smaller Airbus A320 can cost US$50,000 or more.

It also takes an average of 312 man-hours to paint one aircraft.