With plans to ramp up capacity and add ten more aircraft by March 2023, Wadia Group is aiming for a long-delayed initial public offering (IPO) for its airline Go First (G8, Mumbai International) in early July, sources told the newspapers Business Standard and Moneycontrol.

It was last summer that the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) gave Go Airlines Private Limited the green light for its debut on the Mumbai Stock Exchange (BSE), but the carrier has been planning a listing since at least 2015 when it was known as GoAir.

Go First held back because of the emergence of Omicron, then the Russia-Ukraine war, and later to avoid a clash with the mega-IPO of Life Insurance Corporation, which took place this month. It plans to raise up to INR36 billion rupees (USD463 million) to reduce debt and repay lessors (INR22 billion (USD283 million)) and to increase operations in India and internationally, including adding routes to Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, Sri Lanka, and Nepal.

Sources told Business Standard that the budget carrier’s management will restart its roadshows and investor presentations, with one of them saying: “Given the feedback from bankers, we are ready for an IPO.” Momentum in domestic traffic has encouraged investors in India to take another look at the IPO’s draft prospectus, despite record fuel prices and a weaker rupee against the dollar.

“You can never bet on a peak market or all things going right for an IPO [but] bankers are quite eager and optimistic. We are all prepared and we would be open for the listing as soon as possible,” the insider said.

A source told Moneycontrol that “over 27 investors have shown positive interest. The company will make a fresh presentation soon.”

In the lead-up to the IPO, Go First has resumed its plans for capacity expansion. It is currently operating around 300 daily flights compared to 288 in 2019 and had 9.8% of the domestic market in March, second only to IndiGo Airlines (6E, Delhi International) with 54.8% and slightly ahead of the financially distressed SpiceJet (SG, Delhi International). The ch-aviation capacities module shows it had 2,073 frequencies scheduled for the week starting May 23.

It aims to add new aircraft starting from August, namely ten new Airbus A320neo by the end of March 2023. According to the ch-aviation fleets advanced module, it currently operates a fleet of fifty-two A320-200Ns and six A320-200s, with ninety-two more of the A320neo to be delivered. The timeline is ten of these deliveries this year, ten next year, and the remaining 72 from 2024 to 2027.

However, it has yet to return all of its current fleet to activity, with ten still inactive. “We have ten more aircraft to be deployed, but all aircraft are expected to be operating by the end of June,” an unnamed Go First executive told Business Standard.

According to Indian broadcaster CNBC TV18, Go First is considering converting part of its A320neo orders to larger, longer-range, and more fuel-efficient A321neo jets or even switching its entire fleet to A321neo.