CHINA Eastern Airlines says it intends to buy more aircraft, but expansion plans will not take off until a sufficient number of qualified pilots are available. The airline will take delivery of 16 planes over the next five years, including two Airbus A300 jets at US$80 million each next year and five A340s at $100 million each in May 1996. In addition, the airline is negotiating a deal with a McDonnell-Douglas joint venture in China for nine MD90s at about $25 million each, according to China Eastern Aviation Import Export Corp general manager Peng Yiyuan. He said that 90 per cent of financing for the aircraft would come from Bank of China loans, unless the company's plans to list on the New York Stock Exchange came to fruition soon. China Eastern, a Shanghai-based domestic and international carrier, is one of five mainland firms that are planning to issue American depositary receipts. The others are China Southern Airlines, Shandong International Power Development, Huaneng International Power and Tianjin Steel Tube. Mr Peng said a number of near-accidents and worries about pilot competence might slow the airline's growth in the short term but would not affect its development in the long term. 'Some of our pilots are just not up to scratch, and there are still problems with plane maintenance,' he said.