Indian air cargo operator SpiceXpress could be being lined up for initial public offering (IPO) as it adds another freighter to its fleet.

According to an interview with Ajay Singh, chairman and MD of SpiceXpress parent SpiceJet, with Bloomberg last week, the cargo operation could be spun-off within a year as the carrier seeks to take advantage of India’s fast-growing adoption of e-commerce retail.

E-commerce sales in India may more than double, to $72bn, by 2022 from $32.7bn last year, according to research firm eMarketer.

SpiceXpress has nine scheduled departures, six days a week, to Hong Kong from Delhi, Kolkata and Guwahati, and one domestic rotation connecting Hyderabad, Delhi, Mumbai, Bengaluru and Chennai.

It has also operated a number of charter services to international destinations, such as Sharjah, Ras Al Khaimah, Teheran, Somalia and Somaliland, as well as helped transport relief material to Bhubaneshwar during Cyclone Fani.

It services are likely to further expand after last week’s conclusion of a lease agreement for a B737-800 converted freighter from NGF Alpha, a division of Spectre Cargo Solutions.

“We are expanding the markets we currently serve, particularly in the Middle East, Hong Kong and Bangladesh, and the 737-800BCF’s reliability and versatility is helping enable our strategic direction,” Mr Singh explained.

The The 737-800BCF offers lower operating costs per payload tonne than older standard-body freighters and carries up to 24 tonnes of payload, opening new markets with its long-range capability.

Boeing senior vice president Ihssane Mounir said: “We are excited that SpiceJet has chosen to expand its SpiceXpress operation. This converted freighter gives operators just the right size, operating economics and capabilities to succeed in busy domestic and regional routes.”

Boeing said the 737-800BCF orderbook had grown to 120 orders and commitments, and added that it had ramped up production, with output set to more than double to 17 units this year to meet customer demand.

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