Chinese conglomerate HNA has bought a 48 percent stake in French private airline Aigle Azur.
The deal makes it the first Chinese company to invest in a European airline, though it did recently buy a Turkish air freight firm.
The Chinese will add two planes to the French firm’s fleet and expand its routes to include Paris to Beijing.
HNA Group Board Director Adam Tan told euronews: “We will do more cooperation with Aigle Azur, and provide more job opportunities here, and expansion from here to North Africa and the rest of the European market.”
HNA – one of China’s largest non-state owned conglomerates and the parent of Hainan Airlines – has been expanding into logistics, transportation and tourism.
The price paid for the stake in Aigle Azur was not revealed, but one report said it was around 30 million euros.
Euronews Paris business correspondent Giovanni Magi said: “Europe is in crisis, China isn’t. No surprise then the Chinese come shopping in France. And in the aviation field which, due to the crisis is going through another, profound transformation.”