Taiwan News, Staff Writer
2014-03-11 05:05 PM
The plane departed for Auckland in New Zealand with a transit stop in the Australian city of Sydney. The indigenous peoples of Taiwan have ethnic links to many other peoples in the Pacific, such as the Maori in New Zealand.
China Airlines operates seven flights per week to and from Auckland.
For the latest painted plane in its cultural series, Taiwan’s largest carrier invited top indigenous modern artist Sakuliu Pavavalung to come up with a design. He chose the wedding culture of the Paiwan people as his theme, a selection which was likely to propagate a feeling of joy and to attract more travelers to visit Taiwan, officials said. The words “Masalu! Taiwan” or “Welcome to Taiwan” in the Paiwan language were also painted on the aircraft.
The Airbus A330-300 has room for 30 passengers in business class and 277 in economy. Apart from the painting on the outside, the theme of indigenous cultures was also continued in the interior of the plane, reports said.
Taiwan and New Zealand signed a Free Trade Agreement in July last year which included references to the indigenous peoples of both countries. Common genetic characteristics have been discovered between the Taiwanese peoples and the Maori, leading to closer attention to contemporary links between the two countries.
The launch of the new plane at Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport was attended by pilots, flight attendants and other airline staff of indigenous origin. A choir of indigenous children from Taipei City sang the “Song of the Ocean” as Vice President Wu Den-yih, CIP Minister Mayaw Dongi, CAL Chairman Sun Huang-hsiang and CAL CEO Samuel Lin looked on.
Passengers on the aircraft’s maiden flight received objects with indigenous designs, including packs of playing cards, bags and passport covers.
The CIP recognizes 14 indigenous peoples in Taiwan, counting 530,000 people or 2 percent of the total population. The various cultures have been deemed a major asset in the development of Taiwan’s tourist sector, which counted 8 million visitors last year.
The indigenous-themed aircraft follows other planes featuring illustrations of rare animals, foods and nature scenes.