Dragonair has signed a deal with International Lease Finance (ILFC) to roll-over its fleet of Airbus Industrie A320s with seven new leased aircraft.

The Hong Kong-based airline's seven International Aero Engines V2500-A1-powered A320s will be replaced by the latest-specification version, equipped with more powerful 118kN (26,500lb)-thrust V2527-A5 turbofans and featuring reconfigured cabin interiors. Deliveries will begin in February and, while the first five new aircraft will be A320s, Dragonair has the option to take the last two as larger A321s. The airline also holds a lease option for an eighth aircraft.

Dragonair originally took delivery of its first ILFC-leased A320 in early 1993 on a ten-year lease, but has exercised an early break clause to roll over the entire fleet with new twinjets by April 1999. The move will bring the airline's fleet specification in line with that of two V2527-A5-powered A320s which it has ordered directly from Airbus for delivery in May 1998 and June 1999 (Flight International, 9-15 October 1996, P9).

The airline has also confirmed an order for a sixth Rolls-Royce Trent 700-powered A330-300 for delivery in October 1998. The aircraft will be the second A330 to be purchased by Dragonair: the remainder are leased from ILFC. The airline is also expected to decide shortly on whether to convert options held on another five A320s into firm orders. The orders and options with Airbus are valued at HK$3.5billion ($452 million).

Source: Flight International