SHANGHAI, April 26 (Reuters) - Hainan Airlines, one of China's most aggressively expanding carriers, hopes to take over an airline in the United States to boost its global standing, a Hainan Air official said on Friday.
The regional Chinese carrier, which reported a sharp 39 percent drop in net profit last year mainly due to an acquisition spree, has approached a few U.S. airliners though it has made no concrete plans, the official said.
"We are considering to buy a U.S. airline because the (U.S.) aviation industry is not doing quite well now, which might be a good time for an acquisition," the Hainan Air official told Reuters.
"But this is only something very preliminary and nothing has been fixed at all," said the official who declined to be identified.
Hainan Air has announced a plan to expand its fleet by 21 planes this year and list American Depositary Receipts in New York to help fund expansion.
The China Business Times said on Friday Hainan Air planned to set up a private fund in the United States to help its development over the next 10 years. It gave no details.
Hainan Air has been keenly scouring for acquisitions to build its network after the small regional player was left out in the cold by the aviation regulator's plan to merge 10 other carriers into three giant, internationally competitive groups.
The airline, based in the tropical southern island of Hainan, was also among a slew of small carriers that would be squeezed out of lucrative flying routes between Shanghai, Beijing and Guangzhou this year, analysts said.
Hainan Air has said it was forming a new Cambodian flag carrier with the Phnom Penh government, a move analysts saw as aimed at tapping the potentially lucrative Southeast Asian regional air travel market.
Who is the likely one? Anyone able to split those 21 deliveries planned for this year?