Hainan Airlines Company Limited (HNA) is an airline based in Haikou, Hainan, China. It is the largest private airline and the fourth largest in terms of fleet in China. It carries out regular domestic and international flights in five hundred routes from its Hainan hub and nine additional bases, as well as charter flights. Its base of operations is the main international airport of Haikou Meilan, with secondary bases in the International Airport of Beijing, the Capital International Airport of Xi’an Xianyang, the Taiyuan Wusu Airport and the International Airport in Urumqi Diwopu.
On November 30, 2007, the four airlines of the HNA group, HNA, Shanxi Airlines, Chang’an Airlines and China Xinhua Airlines, merged to become Grand China Air, and with that becoming the fourth largest airline in China. Grand China Air belongs to the following groups/individuals at the percentages stated: Grand China Airlines Holding CO which is in turn owned by the following groups/individuals at the percentages stated: by the government of the province of Hainan (48.6 % ), George Soros (18.6 % ), and the HNA group (32.8 % ).
The airline was founded in October 1989 as Hainan Province Airlines. It was subsequently re-named as Hainan Airlines and it became the first airline with multiple shareholders in January 1993 and began to operate regular flights on 2 May 1993. In April of 1995 Executive operations were added with a Bombardier Learjet 55. In 1998, the airline became the first Chinese company to own shares in an airport when it acquired a 25% of the shares in the International Airport of Haikou Meilan. The airline has 9,102 employees as of March 2007.
Its parent company is the HNA group. Founded in 2000, the HNA group also has shares in several other airlines in the percentages outlined as follows: Shanxi Airlines (92.51 %), Chang’an Airlines (73.51 %), China Xinhua Airlines (60 %), Lucky Air, Deer Jet, Shilin Rock Garden Airlines (48.9 %) Grand China Express Air (20 %), Yangtze River Express, Hong Kong Airlines (45 %) and Hong Kong Express (45 %).
The HNA group, partially owned the American billionaire George Soros, planned to sell four aircraft for $220 million to suppress its debt. The company sold four Boeing 737-800s to its affiliate, Changjiang Leasing, and then leased them for a period of six years, since 2008. Hainan also rented five Fairchild Dornier 328 to its affiliate Grand China Express Air, as well as managing a transfer of 230 employees to the small airline.
The airline has a Beijing-Seattle route, which began on June, 9, 2008.This makes Seattle the first North American destination of Hainan. Hainan also plans to start the routes Beijing-Mexico City, Beijing-Chicago and Beijing-Newark in 2010 and 2011.