The government of the southern Chinese province of Hainan is in talks to seize control of HNA Group and sell off the assets of its Hainan Airlines Group, according to the South China Morning Post

The newspaper sourced the report to “people familiar with the plans.”

The takeover would be the first substantial restructuring of the Chinese airline industry since the onset of the Covid-19 coronavirus. 

Hainan Airlines Group owns 11 Chinese airlines, led by flagship carrier Hainan Airlines. According to the Morning Post, the government would sell the bulk of Hainan’s assets to China’s big three state-owned airlines: Air China, China Eastern and China Southern. 

Spokespeople for the HNA Group and Hainan Airlines Group didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment Friday.   

Hainan Airlines served seven U.S. cities prior to the Covid-19 outbreak.

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