Hainan Airlines Group - the parent of mainland-listed Hainan Airlines - is seeking a stake in a United States airline as part of its international expansion plan. This comes two months after the company struck a deal to take a 49 per cent stake in a venture with the Cambodian Government to establish Air Cambodia, to replace bankrupt Royal Air Cambodge. Hainan Airlines Group chairman Chen Feng said the company intended to take over a US airline by way of asset restructuring, according to a Reuters Beijing report quoting the China Commercial Times. Executive vice-president Zhong Shu yesterday confirmed the company has been in discussions with several US carriers. 'We have long had a goal to internationalise our operations,' Mr Zhong said. Soured industry conditions due to last September's terrorist attacks in the US made some US carriers more open to strategic investments. The group was previously unsuccessful in a bid to buy into a US carrier. Mr Zhong said several US fund management companies were interested in investing in a development fund led by the company. About US$75 million of the fund will part-finance Meilan airport in Haikou, Hainan Island. Hainan Airlines is 14.8 per cent owned by investment fund American Aviation which is controlled by US financier George Soros. Hainan Airlines is the biggest airline group after the top three carriers, Air China, China Southern Airlines and China Eastern Airlines. In the past two years it has acquired China Xinhua Airlines, Shanxi Airlines and Changan Airlines. Analysts expected most of Hainan Airlines' peers to be absorbed by the countries' three largest airlines, which are merging with regional airlines under a Beijing-ordered consolidation. Wuhan Airlines will sell 40 per cent to China Eastern and Sichuan Airlines is in talks to sell a stake to China Eastern.