LONDON – Nok Air is one of Thailand’s if not Asia’s quirkiest Low-Cost Airlines. The famous yellow beaked airline called Nok Air which means bird in Thai is preparing itself to restart international flights. India and Vietnam are on the table.
Who is Nok Air?
The airline was founded in 2004, as an ultra-low-cost airline spin-off from Thai Airways and was led by a charismatic CEO Patee Sarasin. He oversaw the company’s growth during the heydays. Nok Air (DD) is famous for its colourful liveries and operates Bangkok’s second airport, Don Mueang International Airport (DMK).
Nok Air flies to destinations within Thailand including, major cities like Chiang Mai (CNX) and Phuket (HKT), and to also other 20 destinations.
The airline is preparing for a comeback in international service after 2 years of hibernation with India and Vietnam on its radar. The airline plans to resume flights to the Vietnamese financial centre of Ho Chi Ming (SGN) middle of this year, and they have and always maintain good relationships with tour operators in Thailand and Vietnam. Nok Air is also eyeing secondary cities in India, such as Guwahati, Varanasi, Hyderabad and New Delhi as part of the Indian expansion plans. Other destinations in the country are also being considered. Lately, Indian tourists are flocking to Thailand due to the destination’s popularity. India is also considered popular amongst Thai tourists, especially youngsters and religious tourists.
Nok Air’s fleet makes up 14 Boeing 737-800NGs and 3 Dash Q400s. Previously before the pandemic, they owned 6 Dash Q400. The reason for the downsizing is because of the Q400s inefficiency, fuel consumption and maintenance costs. The listing company is called: Nok Airlines Public Company Limited, with Thai Airways TG as a major shareholder.
In March 2022 alone, the low-cost carrier operated 62 daily flights with a high load factor of 75%. This is seen as an improvement of 40-50 flights per day in February.
Removal of COVID Rules Gives Airline Hope
Nok Air is upbeat about the relaxation of entry rules from countries in Asia, ranging from India to Indonesia. The Thai government has virtually scrapped nearly all entry restrictions as of May, ending the ‘test and go’ regime. This eases the financial burden of incoming tourists to Thailand. The airline also expects a large increase in the inbound market following the easing of covid rules of ASEAN (South East Asian) governments. The airline eyes heavily on India this year, as the Thai government has created massive demand from Indian tourists due to aggressive marketing.
The CEO of Nok Air, Wuttiphum Jurangook said: “here are many areas there we have not yet tapped into to gain more revenue. As the airlines are slowly gaining their strength, it would be wiser for us if we are the first to take advantage of the situation and gain a foothold through this door”
Jurangkool extended his thoughts on the growing Indian market: “Indian market is booming and it would benefit us greatly if we are one of the few airlines that the Indian people choose to travel to Thailand with”.
Before the pandemic, Nok Air flew to several destinations in China, Yangon (RGN) in Myanmar and Hiroshima, its longest and its flagship route. The carrier shuttled 1.5 million passengers last year.