Avicore Aviation to invest $100 million in freighter operations in India

New Delhi: As the three-year boom in passenger services gives airlines in India an unprecedented boost, the air cargo sector is now all set to take off as the manufacturing sector adds its weight to the nation''s economy. Avicore Aviation, a logistics start up, is now mulling plans to invest about $100 million (Rs400 crore) towards the launch of a new cargo airline, basing its operations at the country''s first dedicated cargo airport at Nagpur.

If things work out as planned the launch will likely take place before mid-2008.

Avicore has already applied to the government for a licence.

Avicore is backed by Indian and US-based non-resident Indian businessmen, with the main Indian financer said to be Abhay Lodha, managing director of the Mumbai-based Topworth Group. The Group apparently has interests in steel and power plants.

Aviation Avicore chief executive, Shankar Devarajan, is the other partner.

According to Avicore executives Nagpur has been chosen for its location in central India, from where they would like to serve other Indian cities. All major Indian cities will be under two hour flying distance from Nagpur.

The start up is looking at leasing or buying five Boeing 737 aircraft. The aircraft are likely to be converted into freighters from passenger jets.

Avicore has appointed Frost & Sullivan as consultants and are currently awaiting government approval.