A Suparna Airlines 747-400 freighter landed at Germany’s Frankfurt-Hahn Airport (HHN) via Xi’an, China, this morning, implementing the next phase in HNA Modern Logistics Group’s global airfreight strategy. HNA Group, which owns freight-focused Suparna Airlines, finalized its purchase of the German airport earlier this month, as a lower-cost alternative to Frankfurt Airport’s congestion and flight restrictions.
On Aug. 9, after multiple rounds of negotiations with the European Union, HNA purchased 82.5 percent of Frankfurt-Hahn Airport. While HHN is located approximately 125 kilometers from Frankfurt proper, the airport says that its lack of flight restrictions and congestion make it a contender for freight.
HNA hopes to use those advantages to convince other freight airlines to fly to HHN. In the meantime, HNA sees strong demand for German agricultural and manufacturing exports in China. The airport said that the new cargo route would promote import and export and economic interchange between China and Germany.
HNA Group is also betting on its extensive investments in Xi’an, which the group is turning into a transport hub in China. The group says it is turning the city into the “Memphis of China.”
HHN handles 80,000 tonnes of cargo per year, which is well behind the 2.15 million tonnes that passed though the larger Frankfurt Airport in 2016. That said, HNA Group have ambitions of turning HHN into one of the ten largest airports in Germany. The airport says that its 24-hour operating license, flexible slots, modern ground-handling services, convenient airport charges and importantly, its centrality to Germany’s economy make it a viable low-cost alternative.
Suparna Airlines (formerly known as Yangtze River Airlines) is one of two other HNA-owned freight subsidiaries: Yangtze River Airlines and Hong Kong Air Cargo.
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