Haikou - The largest HNA group airline Hainan Airlines has signed a framework agreement with COMAC for the purchase of 200, C919 and 100, ARJ21.

After signing for 15 C919 aircraft in 2010, the private Chinese airline operator and the state-owned aircraft manufacturer announced a strategic partnership for the acquisition of 300 single-aisle planes, which will be used both between airports in China and overseas markets, as part of China's "One Belt One Road" initiative.

Africa is mainly the target market for the ARJ21, to meet rising demand for air transport. HNA already has holdings in the continent in Africa World Airlines in Ghana and Comair in South Africa.

The cooperation between the two Chinese companies will also focus on supporting the operations of the C919s and ARJ-21s in order to create a network of services for customers of both aircraft in China and abroad.

The HNA group is involved in 13 Chinese airlines, including Hainan Airlines and Hong Kong Airlines, but also in a dozen foreign companies including Aigle Azur in France, TAP Air Portugal, Azul in Brazil and MyCargo Airlines (ACT) in Turkey, and soon Virgin Australia in Australia.

So far, the C919 has accumulated 815 orders mostly from Chinese leasing companies. The aircraft is expected to enter into service in four years. With the C919, COMAC aims to compete with A320neo and B737 MAX.