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Airbus to resume deliveries to HNA Group after payments row



A sign is pictured at the entrance of the Airbus A330 final assembly line at Airbus headquarters in Colomiers, near Toulouse, France, November 26, 2018. REUTERS/Regis Duvignau

TOULOUSE, France (Reuters) – Airbus (AIR.PA) is poised to resume stalled deliveries of jets to China’s debt-laden HNA Group, an Airbus schedule showed on Monday, but deliveries of over $1 billion of large jets remain behind schedule after months of wrangling over late payments.

Visitors to an Airbus delivery center in Toulouse on Monday saw at least two Airbus A330 aircraft and one smaller A320-family jet in position for handover to HNA-affiliated airlines. An electronic sign welcomed crew for an imminent A320 delivery.

“Some (HNA) planes will be delivered,” an industry source said.

However, another six A330 aircraft painted in flame-red HNA tail liveries remained parked in long-term storage elsewhere in Airbus’s Toulouse base, according to Reuters journalists, who were attending an event at the facility for the first delivery of the upgraded A330neo version to TAP Portugal.

“Deliveries are ongoing. Contractual terms are confidential,” an Airbus spokesman said, when asked about HNA deliveries.

Companies belonging to the Chinese aviation-to-finance conglomerate delayed payments earlier this year, leading Airbus to suspend deliveries rather than step in to provide delivery financing itself, Reuters reported in July.

Airbus said last month it hoped to resolve by year-end an unidentified commercial issue surrounding current-generation A330 airplanes, which industry sources afterwards linked to the HNA payments stand-off.

Under pressure from Beijing, HNA Group is in the process of selling some $20 billion of assets, according to Reuters calculations and media reports, following a $50 billion acquisition spree.

Airbus aims to deliver a total of 782 aircraft this year including the stored HNA aircraft.

Reporting by Tim Hepher. Editing by Jane Merriman