Business / Companies

HNA buys into Brazil airline

By ZHU WENQIAN (China Daily) Updated: 2016-08-05 07:43

HNA buys into Brazil airline

An Airbus A330 jet plane of Hainan Airlines of HNA Group takes off from the Shenzhen Baoan International Airport in Shenzhen city, South China's Guangdong province, December 30, 2014. [Photo/IC]

Hainan Airlines Co Ltd, China's largest private airline and a subsidiary of conglomerate HNA Group, has bought a 23.7 percent stake in Azul SA, Brazil's third-biggest airline, for $450 million, the latest in a series of overseas acquisitions by the company.

Hainan Airlines became the single largest shareholder in Azul, and will appoint three new members to Azul's board of directors. The two sides have also agreed to launch more cooperation in code sharing, new routes, frequent flier programs, marketing programs and cargo handling.

HNA said both carriers will benefit from the substantial passenger traffic between China and Brazil. In August, around 3,000 Chinese visitors will travel to Rio de Janeiro for the Olympic Games, a 10-fold increase in the number of tourists over the same period last year.

"In addition to bringing more choice and convenience to customers of Hainan Airlines traveling to and from Brazil, we view Azul as a strong and lasting partner for HNA to explore further expansion and capital investment in Latin America," said Adam Tan, CEO of HNA Group.

"We look forward to working together to create a seamless travel experience between Latin America and China and to deliver further choice, value and excellence to worldwide travelers through our future cooperation."

Founded in 2008, Azul has been one of the best-rated low-cost Latin American airlines, which offers more than 800 daily flights to more than 100 destinations.

The carrier operates about one-third of the daily departures in the Brazilian aviation market. HNA said the cooperation will help both airlines to expand their international route networks.

"This investment demonstrates that we have a winning business model and that Hainan Airlines, as a large investor, has absolute confidence in Azul's team," said David Neeleman, founder and CEO of Azul.

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