Turbulence: Avolon owner HNA 'to offload Airbus jets' amid cash crunch
Chinese conglomerate HNA Group has been trying for months to offload jetliners it ordered from Airbus, according to people familiar with the matter, as the indebted airline-turned-global acquirer wrestles with liquidity challenges.
The Chinese group asked the leasing arms of Industrial & Commercial Bank of China and China Minsheng Banking Corp, among others, to take over at least 10 plane orders, the people said, asking not to be identified discussing a private matter. Talks about the A330 twin-aisle jets, due to be delivered this year, date back to at least April, they said.
Representatives of HNA and the leasing division of ICBC didn't immediately respond to requests for comment. Minsheng wasn't immediately reachable. An Airbus spokesman declined to comment. Aircraft deals are notoriously difficult to exit as they carry significant penalties for customers looking to cancel orders, partly because of the disruption caused to the planemaker's production lines. The wide-body A330 has a list price of as much as $264m, though airlines typically get significant discounts.
The jets would be part of one of China's biggest corporate garage sales ever. HNA has agreed to sell more than $22bn in assets this year, including a deal in August to divest a 30pc stake in Avolon Holdings, its Irish jet-leasing unit. Pictured is an Airbus SE A330-900.