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VN Airlines in big expansion

VN Airlines in big expansion

HANOI -Vietnam's flag-carrier, Vietnam Airlines, plans to more than double its

fleet in the next six years, airline officials said last week.

"We need

30 to 40 aircraft by the end of this century, including all types," the

airline's deputy director-general, Nguyen Duc Vinh, told a press

briefing.

Planes made by the European concern Airbus Industries and

Boeing and McDonnell-Douglas of the United States were all being considered for

the main requirement, medium-haul planes for key domestic and regional routes,

he said.

Apart from ageing Soviet-built Tupolev and Yak-40 airliners

relegated to domestic routes, Vietnam Airlines has nine aircraft at present -

five Airbus A-320s leased from Air France, two Boeing 767s leased from Ansett

Airlines and two ATR-72s it owns.

Vinh said the airline could not

indicate which manufacturer would win contracts. Decisions would be based on the

planes themselves, training, maintenance, after-sales service, credit and

financial conditions.

On other issues, he said Vietnam Airlines planned

to start flying to Japan by the end of 1994, but it wanted to use Tokyo's Narita

Airport and Japan was refusing permission.

Vinh said Vietnam Airlines

expected the United States to be a big market once the two governments had

established diplomatic relations and had signed an air services

agreement.-Reuters

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