Hong Kong Dragon Airlines recorded double-digit traffic gains for its passenger and cargo operations last month, attributed to robust growth in the mainland economy and expansion of its service network. The China-focused airline yesterday said it carried more than 280,000 passengers last month, up nearly 15 per cent year on year, while passenger volume grew apace to nearly 357 million passenger kilometres. Dragonair saw a 69 per cent surge in freight carried for the month to 15,203 tonnes, up from 9,000 tonnes a year earlier. 'Cargo demand remains robust, even though June is seasonally considered an off-peak month,' chief executive Stanley Hui said. 'The good result is down to robust economic development in China and the work of our cargo sales staff and has seen us achieve record levels of business in the markets of Osaka and Taiwan. This bodes particularly well for the start of our services to Taipei this month.' While external demand for cargo services continued to rise, much of Dragonair's increased traffic flow was achieved as a result of aggressive network expansion. The carrier has taken delivery of three aircraft this year, including one wide-body Airbus Industrie A330-300, and is expected to receive a third Boeing 747-300 freighter by the end of the year. The carrier's available tonne-kilometres grew more than 41 per cent in the first six months, while passenger capacity rose nearly 21 per cent. It launched a twice-weekly dedicated freighter service to Taipei last week, following the introduction of three daily passenger services to the Taiwanese capital. As a result of the new Taipei flights, this month should continue to see a rapid growth in Dragonair's monthly operational figures.