Grand China Air was formed on 29 November 2007 under the initiative of the HNA group's largest operational entity, Hainan Airlines, to merge its operations with HNA Group's subsidiaries Shanxi Airlines, Chang An Airlines, and China Xinhua Airlines. The airline is headquartered in Beijing and registered in Hainan Province. As of 14 April 2012 only one of its 737-800s have been fitted with winglets.
Grand China Air was owned by 23 shareholders. The top 5 shareholders were Hainan Development Holdings (24.97%), HNA Group (23.11%), Starstep (9.57%), Haikou Meilan International Airport (8.30%) and Shenhua Group (5.56%). It was reported that George Soros was a minority shareholder It was reported that Starstep was still owned by Soros. Former associate of Soros, Bharat Bhisé, via Pan-American Aviation Holdings, owned 4.00% stake of Grand China Air as the 8th largest shareholder (in 2015 Pan-American was acquired by Jun Guan); Pan-American Aviation Holdings was a minority shareholder of HNA Group indirectly.