Hong Kong Dragon Airlines (Dragonair) is accelerating the delivery of its ninth Airbus Industrie A330 wide-body passenger aircraft by at least a month so it can begin a HK$100 million cabin upgrade programme. The China-focused carrier's chief executive, Stanley Hui Hon-chung, said yesterday the company hoped to take delivery of the aircraft in November rather then December to begin installing a new audio-visual inflight entertainment system throughout its A330 fleet. Dragonair will also refurbish the interiors of the aircraft with new first and business class cabins and new fabrics for its economy class seats. Other inflight amenities, including new china, are being ordered. 'Our plan is to bring in the new A330 earlier to allow for the refurbishment and retrofit of the inflight entertainment system,' Mr Hui said. The cabin upgrade reduces business class seats by one per row. Dragonair's A330 aircraft have a three-seat configuration down the middle of the cabin, but the new design will eliminate the middle seat for more comfortable six-abreast seating. The refurbishment programme is expected to take at least a year to complete and requires one carrier to be taken out of service for a month at a time. The new aircraft will serve as a back-up for the duration of the work, so that Dragonair's A330 fleet will effectively remain at eight. Installation of the new inflight entertainment system is expected to account for most of the refurbishment programme's HK$100 million cost. At present, the A330 fleet is equipped only with an audio system. Dragonair flies the A330, the largest passenger aircraft in its fleet, on its more heavily travelled routes, including Beijing and Shanghai. One aircraft was acquired specifically with the airline's new Hong Kong-Taipei route in mind, which the airline is starting on Monday with a three flights per day service. Besides the cabin retrofit, Dragonair is considering a major fleet expansion with the addition of 70-seat regional jets to help develop smaller mainland destinations beyond the 18 Chinese cities to which it flies. The airline is also considering the introduction of a United States' cargo service next year. Mr Hui said Dragonair would need to acquire at least two Boeing 747 freighters. Most likely, these would be freighter-conversions of used passenger 747-400s now parked for sale. Dragonair operates two older 747-300 freighters bought from Singapore Airlines three years ago, with a third jet due for delivery later this year.