What is KLM Asia?

    Founded in 1995 to allow KLM to fly to Taiwan, KLM Asia is an Amsterdam-based KLM Royal Dutch Airlines subsidiary. The removal of the royal crown from its livery and the addition of the word ‘Asia’ was to appeal the mainland China authorities who still feel that Taiwan as a part of China.

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    KLM Asia 777

    To fully understand why airlines like KLM, Air France, JAL, and Swissair did this, we first need to know something about Taiwan’s history and how it arrived into presence.

    China does not recognize Taiwan.

    After remaining on hold during the Chinese Civil War and parts of China, including Taiwan, being occupied by the Japanese during World War Two (WW 2), hostilities resurfaced. The communists obtained the upper hand in mainland China forcing Chiang Kai-shek (former president of the PRC) and his forces to withdraw from the Taiwan Strait. With the war a virtual delay, Mao Tse Tung( Another former president of the PRC) established the communist Peoples Republic of China (PRC), leaving democratic Taiwan to call itself The Republic of China (ROC).

    Taiwan Province, People's Republic of China - Wikipedia
    China and Taiwan on the map

    While this sounds like an ideal solution, the problem is that the communist leaders on the mainland have never recognized the ROC and still regard Taiwan as part of a unified China. To this day, China abuses to invade Taiwan and takes its territory back and is only stopped from doing so because the United States has promised to defend Taiwan.

    China is more profitable.

    With a population of 1.4 billion compared to Taiwan’s 24 million China and its economy has a much bigger market than Taiwan. Taipei was still a profitable route to fly. When China announced that any airline flying to Taiwan would not fly over mainland China. Hence, KLM Asia had no crown on its livery. This legal name change allowed KLM to keep Chinese authorities friendly by claiming that they did not fly to TaiwanNow legally registered in Taiwan as KLM Asia. The Dutch national flag carrier could fly between Amsterdam Airport Schiphol (AMS) and Taipei Taoyuan International Airport (TPE). To make the route more profitable, KLM Asia made TPE a stopover between Amsterdam and Manila Ninoy Aquino International Airport (MNL) in the Philippines.

    Review of KLM flight from Amsterdam to Johannesburg in Business
    KLM Asia

    As of 2019, KLM Asia was still operating and had a fleet of seven Boeing 777-200ERs and two Boeing 777-300ER aircraft. Because KLM only needs two jets for the Taipei to Amsterdam route, the KLM Asia planes are used on other routes, but nevermore to mainland China.

    China Airlines to rebrand 

    The nations flag carrier China Airlines won approval from the Taiwanese government to rebrand. The problem with the current name is that it is often confused with Air China. The significant mainland airline headquartered in Beijing.

    When approval for the rebranding was given this past summer, China Airlines had no comment on the decision regarding when it will happen or what the new name will be.

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