The Hainan Airlines Group (HNA Group) announced Tuesday that it has acquired a 48-percent stake in French airline Aigle Azur, becoming the carrier’s second-largest shareholder following the GoFast Group.
 
The agreement marks the first investment made by a Chinese airline in a European airline.
 
According to the agreement, Aigle Azur will form a five-member executive committee as its top management body, with the HNA Group claiming two seats.
 
Meanwhile, the HNA group will be allowed to appoint one executive member to become the French carrier’s vice president. It may also designate a deputy financial officer for Aigle Azur.
 
Aigle Azur is reportedly hatching plans to buy two A330 wide-body airliners and gradually open up routes between Paris and Beijing.
 
It will also pool resources with HNA to form a network connecting Asia, Europe and Africa.
 
Tan Xiangdong, a member of HNA’s board of directors, said the move is a "significant milestone" for HNA.
 
In recent years, HNA has taken steps to tap into the global market. On Sept. 21, Africa World Airlines, an airline partly invested by HNA and the China-Africa Development Fund, launched its first flight in Accra, capital of Ghana.
 
 
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