Spring Airlines A320

Shanghai-based Spring Airlines (9C) is awaiting approval from the China Securities Regulatory Commission (CSRC) to launch an IPO via the Shanghai Stock Exchange that the carrier said is needed to fund its planned fleet expansion.

Spokesperson Zhang Wuan said the launch date has not yet been determined; indications have pointed to the IPO taking place sometime in the current quarter.

The low-cost carrier operates a fleet of 30 Airbus A320s on 57 domestic and international routes. Robust domestic market demand has led 9C to plan to double its fleet to 60 aircraft by 2015.

9C chairman Wang Zhenghua said previously the carrier plans lease about 50% of its future fleet. But it plans to purchase the other half, making it imperative to launch the IPO.

At the end of last year, 9C announced plans to launch a carrier in Japan to gain a deeper foothold in the Japanese market (ATW Daily News, Dec. 7, 2011).

9C reported net income of CNY470 million ($74.8 million) in 2010. Zhang said the carrier expects its 2011 net profit to be higher.