HONG KONG – China’s fourth-largest airline group and parent of Hainan Airlines Co Ltd, HNA Group said it will sign aircraft purchase orders with leading aircraft manufacturers, including Boeing Co and Airbus.
Reuters reports that HNA was planning to sign an aircraft purchase agreement and a memorandum of understanding with leading aircraft makers, also including Dassault Aviation SA and Gulfstream Aerospace at the event, it said in a media invitation for the signing ceremony.
According to Reuters, there has been speculation that the HNA orders could include Airbus’ A380s as the Chinese government is calling for the purchase of more wide body planes to help ease air traffic congestion.
Airbus declined to comment.
Chinese airlines have been accelerating to expand their fleet to meet rising demand from increasingly affluent Chinese passengers.
Industry association IATA has forecast the number of international air passengers from mainland China will rise by an average of 10.8 percent per year through to 2014, making it the world’s fastest-growing market.
Chinese President Hu Jintao agreed with the United States in January to buy 200 Boeing aircraft for delivery between 2011 and 2013, but it was unclear how many of these were new orders.
HNA Group has 11 airlines and also invests in airports, hotels and other businesses.