SHANGHAI Airline's chairman He Pengnian says his company will take delivery of four 767s and seven 757s between now and the year 2000 as previously agreed. During the visit of United States Commerce Secretary Ron Brown, Mr He and the US envoy attended a ceremony marking the delivery of one of the previously-purchased Boeing 757s. Analysts said Mr He's statement was significant and that the airline would be well positioned to launch international flights in Asia to destinations like Japan, Malaysia, Hong Kong and even Taiwan, should the opportunity present itself. 'The 757s are 180-200 seaters,' said the analyst. 'The airline could easily deploy them on a Shanghai-Japan routing, or even to Taiwan, in a year or two depending upon the circumstances.' All told the airline has a contract to purchase 13 of the 757s and five 767s, the first of which the company took delivery earlier in July. 'They are planning very definitely to increase their capacity,' said a spokesman for Boeing Aircraft. 'This announcement would seem to tie into their overall expansion plans for the coming decades.' It is a well known fact that the airline has ambitious plans which match those of the city of Shanghai, which hopes to become China's financial centre. 'When they took delivery of the Boeing 767 in July, they let it be known that their plan was to become an international carrier,' said the analyst. The purchase of the smaller 757s would provide the airline with the capability to launch medium-range or regional flights. This would further augment the airline's domestic capabilities, he said. Coming up with the required money should not pose a problem, said analysts. Shanghai Air is one of China's most financially successful carriers and enjoys considerable decision-making autonomy. One analyst described the airline as the country's leading independent Chinese airline. 'The municipality of Shanghai has been given a lot of independence and as a result the airline has been given a lot of leeway on making purchasing decisions,' said the analyst. 'They are very much independent of the Civil Aviation Authority of China, which has said that there will be no purchases of aircraft this year.' The nine-year-old airline operates almost 130 flights a week to 20 cities in China and flies Boeings exclusively. The Boeing aircraft are largely made in the US and are equipped with engines made by Pratt and Whitney. Boeing said the Shanghai order was not part of the estimated $38.5 billion in aircraft orders that Boeing was expecting from China's state-run airlines. Negotiations for those orders were continuing. The agreement comes as part of numerous deals encouraged by Mr Brown's trade visit to China.