Last year, when the Rhineland-Palatinate government put its stake in the ailing Frankfurt Hahn Airport (HHN) up for sale, China-based HNA Group surfaced as a potential buyer. Then, out of nowhere, HNA was outbid by a largely unknown Chinese conglomerate, Shanghai Yiqian Trading Company. However, that deal fell through when it was discovered that Yiqian had not acquired clearance from the Chinese regulatory authorities to make the purchase, and once again the airport was listed on the market.
In the latest bidding round, Rhineland-Palatinate said it received interest from three companies, but has decided to follow-up with HNA and its partner, Germany-based ADC GmbH. Although it is unclear what HNA may have in store for the airport, one of the group’s airline affiliates, Yangtze River Airlines previously operated freighter flights into Hahn. At present, carriers including Etihad Airways, NCA, and Silk Way West use Hahn for freighter flights, finding the airport’s 24-hour operating license an attractive option – particularly in light of the night-time restrictions at nearby Frankfurt International (FRA).