Hong Kong's Dragonair has revealed it may take more aircraft than originally scheduled next year on the back of the sustained recovery in regional economies.

Dragonair chief executive officer Stanley Hui says that consistent signs of recovery from the mid-1997 regional economic downturn have led it to review "business and fleet expansion plans in the near to medium term."

He says that "in addition to the one Airbus A320 already planned to join the fleet in June next year, we are also looking at additional lift for next summer."

Dragonair has options with Airbus on five A320s and additional unspecified options with International Lease Finance, to which it recently returned one Airbus A330 delivered only in October last year, for more aircraft.

The carrier plans to reconfigure its five remaining in-service A330s from two to three classes in the second quarter 2000.

Hui says cargo traffic "has gone from strength to strength throughout 1999" and that with the eventual entrance of China into the World Trade Organisation "the need for air cargo transportation services... will only rise." Dragonair serves more cities in China than any other non mainland-based carrier.

Source: Flight Daily News