China's HNA Group has ordered 38 Boeing passenger aircraft for its unit Hong Kong Airlines.
The memorandum of understanding with Boeing comprises 30 787-9s, six 777 Freighters, and two 787-8s in VIP configuration, says HNA.
The Group, which also operates business aviation units in Hong Kong and China, signed MOUs with Gulfstream for five G450s and G550s, and with Dassault Falcon for five 7X business jets.
"We have been waiting for the 787 for a long while, and we are very happy to finally order this aircraft," says Adam Tan, director of HNA Group and chairman of HNA Industrial Holding.
He adds that the group, which also owns Hainan Airlines, China's fourth largest carrier and biggest privately owned airline, hopes to develop Hong Kong Airlines into a much bigger player in its market, where it competes with the island's flag carrier Cathay Pacific.
"There are plenty of routes that are not served and we think that we can grow those. We also believe that there is growing demand for Hong Kong as a hub, and Hong Kong Airlines will be able to contribute to that," says Tan.
Hainan Airlines, he adds, could eventually take some of the 787s that the Group has ordered if there is demand for the aircraft type.
"This order is intended for Hong Kong and the aircraft will be based here, but they could be operated by Hainan if we can work that out," he says.
Hainan Airlines, he adds, will continue to grow despite the competition from the three government-owned majors, Air China, China Southern Airlines and China Eastern Airlines.
"We are looking to add to our market share. It is not about taking market from those three but also about creating a new market and growing with the higher demand in China, he says.