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Hainan Airlines mulls stake in Malév - ATW

Hainan Airlines (HNA) is considering investing in financially troubled  Hungarian national airline  Malév, reported Air Transport World, based on the information provided by an industry insider in China, who said the Haikou-based carrier is in negotiations with the state-owned airline. If the deal goes through, HNA would become the first Chinese carrier to invest in a European airline.

HNA signed a letter of intent with MA to deepen its cooperation and sent a group to negotiate with the Hungarian carrier. The source pointed out that it may take "at least four to five months" to clear all hurdles to complete a deal.

Interestingly, HNA Chairman Chen Feng noted last week that the carrier is more interested in setting up a new airline in Hungary. HNA considered making a bid for MA in 2004. Ultimately, the carrier decided against the investment because HNA lacked a broad route network in Europe and it considered the financial risk too great. Meanwhile, Chen revealed that HNA is interested in a stake in Germany's Hochtief Airport.