LCCs place IPO on agenda

TWO Asian low-cost carriers (LCC) have placed IPOs on their to-do lists to finance future expansion plans, with increasing demand for cheaper intra-regional flights fuelling the growth.

Shanghai-based Spring Airlines is on the verge of issuing IPO, according to strategic planning department deputy manager Jonathan Hutt. “We are looking at it happening sometime this year.”

Spring Airlines, which commenced flights to Ibaraki in Japan and Hong Kong mid-last year, is looking to expand its network to include more Japanese cities, South Korea, Macau and Taiwan within the next few years.

Good demand for its twice-daily Shanghai-Hong Kong route has prompted the carrier to consider raising frequency to four flights a day.

Philippine-based LCC AirPhil Express, with Singapore its only international destination so far, is planning to issue IPO in 2013 or 2014 to fund fleet expansion and new international routes.

AirPhil Express chief executive advisor Brian Hogan said: “We will have 15 aircraft delivered by 2012 and may consider another five after that. With these new aircraft, we are planning to fly to Hong Kong, South Korea and China.”

A Kalibo-Singapore service may also be introduced by end-2011, adding to the carrier’s current flights from Cebu and Manila to Singapore.

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