China Fangda Group is not withdrawing from struggling Hainan Airlines Holding, which the Chinese chemicals and steel manufacturer took over in December last year, the chairman said recently in response to rumors that it is planning to pull out soon.
“If someone asks you again if Fangda will exit, please ask them who they think is up for the job? Will anyone else take on this task? Try to find someone. And even if you do, Fangda is not leaving,” Fang Wei said at a recent semi-annual work conference of parent firm HNA Aviation Group.
Last December, Beijing-based Fangda bought a controlling stake in insolvent HNA for CNY38 billion (USD6 billion) and also threw in an additional CNY3 billion (USD472.2 million) to supplement working capital. It consolidated the group’s aviation business, which included 14 carriers including Hainan Airlines and Xinhua Airlines, into Hainan Airlines Holding.
Fang hopes to start renting and purchasing planes in the second half, he said. Haikou, southern Hainan province-based HNA has over 800 planes and this could reach 1,000 in the next three to five years and 1,200 in the next five to ten years, he added.
Hainan Airlines is slowly building up a core leadership team. The carrier appointed its second new chairman this year in June. Cheng Yong, who retired from China Southern Airlines where he had been general manager since 2017, took up the reins. HNA has also undergone several top executive changes recently.
There will be another senior management shakeup at the end of the year, Fang said.
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