European aircraft manufacturer Airbus is reportedly withholding deliveries of new airplanes to affiliated airlines of China's debt-laden HNA Group, following delayed payments for several
months for the aircraft.
Affected are six A330s costing €1.37 bn according to list price.
A Reuters report quoted a person familiar with the situation as saying that "After six months of talks, Airbus took the decision to withdraw the planes as it does not want to play the
While both Airbus and HNA had no immediate comment, another person involved in the matter reportedly said that the dispute was "in the process of being resolved."
Some six A330s painted in the red liveries of HNA Group airlines, including Hainan Airlines, Beijing Capital Airlines and Tianjin Airlines, are currently parked at the Airbus plant in Toulouse.
The six A330s would cost a total of US$1.6 billion at list prices. However, according to an aircraft finance source, the total financial burden of holding such assets, in terms of lost value and the cost of storage and maintenance, could easily amount to US$10,000 per plane per day.
New CEO, old strategy?
Apart from its debt problems, HNA faced a major crisis earlier this month when its
chairman and co-founder Wang Jian, who is regarded as the architect of HNAs US$50 billion acquisition spree that pushed it into debt, died in a freak accident in France.
HNA has meanwhile named co-founder Chen Feng as sole chairman and said in a statement that Chen, chief executive officer Adam Tan and HNA's senior management team would "remain focused on steering the company and its operations through this difficult period."
Financial sources earlier this year revealed that some airlines linked to HNA, including its flagship Hainan Airlines as well as the smaller Lucky Air and Beijing Capital Airlines, had missed payments, while Tianjin Airlines was seeking to extend the term for payments due this year.
Nol van Fenema