HAIKOU, China: November 25, 2015. The HNA Group is to spend US$450 million for a 23.7 percent stake in Azul Brazilian Airlines, the country's third largest airline.
Earlier this month Azul began the first daily service between its hub at Belo Horizonte and Orlando, Florida (right). The company also operates daily flights from Fort Lauderdale / Miami and Orlando to São Paulo.
President of HNA Adam Tan said the stake in Azul, making his company the airline's largest single shareholder, was a reflection of HNA's commitment to strategic investments in companies with strong market position.
HNA, owner of Hainan Airlines, says it aims to benefit from the substantial traffic between Brazil and China.
Former founder of Jet Blue and current Azul CEO David Neeleman commented: "Considering Brazil's current macroeconomic situation, [the shareholding] demonstrates that we have a winning business model and that the HNA Group, as a large investor, has absolute confidence in Azul's team."
Last month HNA announced it would begin a non-stop Beijing-Manchester service next June. It will be Hainan Airlines' sixth international route following the launch of the Chongqing-Rome, Beijing-San Jose, Shanghai-Boston, Shanghai-Seattle and Beijing-Prague routes earlier this year.
HNA also purchased ground handler Swissport in July 2015 for CHF2.7 billion.