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European Commission supports HNA purchase of Frankfurt-Hahn airport

FRANKFURT HAHN: August 10, 2017. The HNA Group has completed its acquisition of Frankfurt-Hahn airport from the German state of Rhineland-Palatinate. The purchase price was €15.1 million for an 82.5 percent stake.

The move follows a decision by the European Commission on July 31 to allow state aid for the loss-making airport to continue until "private investment enables its return to viability".

Frankfurt Hahn airportAccording to the Commission's 2014 Aviation Guidelines, public funding is allowed to cover the operating losses of smaller regional airports in the EU if a credible business plan demonstrates a return to viability by April 2024.

The Commission said public funding would continue to cover the airport's operating losses while the HNA Group enables a return to profitability by 2023. According to the Rhineland-Palatinate government, Frankfurt-Hahn is responsible for 11,000 jobs in the region.

In the first half of 2017 air cargo volume increased 52 percent year-on-year to reach 49.000 tonnes. In June the airport handled 8,670 tonnes of airfreight, a 101 percent increase over the same month in 2016.

In May 2017 HNA Group became the largest shareholder in Deutsche Bank, Germany's largest financial services provider. China became Germany's largest trading partner for the first time last year, with bilateral trade volume exceeding US$151 billion.

The HNA Group was formed in 1993 to encourage tourism on Chna's tropical island of Hainan. A US$25 million investment in the company's start-up airline by George Soros provided timely credibility. Since then the group has expanded its global interests to cover banking, real estate, hotels, retail, aircraft leasing, shipbuilding and 'eco-tech'. In 2016 it reported revenue of US$29.56 billion.

As of December 2016 HNA operated 1,250 airplanes flying to over 260 cities worldwide via Hainan Airlines, Tianjin Airlines, Capital Airlines, Deer Jet, Lucky Air, West Air, Fuzhou Airlines, Urumqi Air, Beibu Gulf Airlines, Yangtze River Airlines, Guilin Airlines, Chang'an Airlines, Africa World Airlines, and Aigle Azur.

HNA says by "incorporating traditional Chinese culture and integrating Chinese socialist values with a world-class management system", its business fosters a corporate culture befitting both Chinese and western society.

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