LONDON – Nok Air plans to increase its overall operations in the 4th quarter of this year, by adding more aircraft and adding 16% of its network schedule.
Focus On ASEAN-APAC Market
The Thai airline also plans to add extra international flights to maintain its competitiveness in the ASEAN-APAC market such as to Taiwan and India. Nok Air remains bullish as the aviation industry faces more headwinds such as the rise in fuel prices and supply chain shortages.
Dr Wutiphum Chulangkoon, the company’s Chairman of Nok Air Company Limited unveils that the airline has a total fleet of 17 aircraft, consisting of mostly Boeing 737-800NGs and a handful of Q400s.
To be exact, the fleet composition is as, 13+1 Boeing 737-800NG, with one 737 grounded following an incident at Chiang Rai (CEI) Airport, and three Q400s.
The airline’s Aircraft Utilization is approximately 8 hours per day, which is sub-par its normal rate of 11 to 12 hours before the covid-19 pandemic. The airline hopes that this will gradually change in the following months.
The airline has somewhat of an ambitious fleet expansion programme as the airline plans to add 6 additional aircraft, which is the Boeing 737-800NG.
The first aircraft is due to arrive before the end of this year, and the remaining 5 are due to arrive next year with no exact date set. The airline in the meanwhile is evaluating when to add in the last batch of the 737s as it gradually expands to the Japanese, Indian and Chinese markets respectively.
“Unfortunately, a couple of months back the airline suffered a non-serious incident involving one of their 737s in Chiang Rai northern Thailand. This has seriously affected their scheduling and rota for the aircraft utilisations.”
“This means that the particular aircraft will be temporarily put for heavy maintenance. The airline remains confident that after the check-up, the aircraft’s condition will be top quality and Nok Air puts safety first before anything else.
The airline is doing its best to utilise its aircraft as the country is approaching its high season” stated the company’s chairman (translated from Thai).
Currently, the airline focuses on domestic flights, with a handful of international routes such as Ho Chi Minh and Rangoon. The share of its passengers is mainly Thai nationals at 80-90% high.
The airline expects to see more foreigners as its passenger shares in towards the end of the 4th quarter. The airline, in the next quarter, hopes to expand more international flights.
The company’s chairman stated in Thai: “The 4th quarter will be the quarter to look at, as the airline plans to expand into newer markets, and also to strengthen its brand identity to spread awareness about the carrier. Nok Air’s strength is its service and its unique ‘high-end’ low-cost position, which puts our airline over others.”
New Lounge at Don Mueang Airport (DMK)
Don Mueang Airport is Bangkok’s secondary airport, where it houses other low-cost carriers, such as Air Asia and Lion Air. The airline plans to open its lounge at the airport this upcoming October, being the first in-house airline to do so in decades. The lounge will feature food, wifi, and beverages to keep passengers pampered.
The airline also has plans to make a comeback to Bangkok Suvarnabhumi Airport early next year on the Chiang Mai – Bangkok (Suvarnabhumi) route.
International Market Growth
The Taiwanese and Indian market is seen to be a lucrative market. The airline plans to fly the Bangkok (DMK) to Taipei route by the end of this year.
Apart from that, International operations will be ramped up drastically, such as the Bangkok-Ho Chi Minh 4 times a week to daily flights, Bangkok – Rangoon flights from 4 flights to 10 flights per week.
The Japanese market has always been outstanding for Thai airlines as Japan is a popular destination for Thai holiday goers. The airline is trying to penetrate this market, as Japan opens up the country even more towards the end of the year.
The Japanese market is one of the most popular routes for Thai airlines.
The Indian market has also been gaining ground for many Thai airlines. Nok Air is currently asking for permission to fly to India and is expected to launch Indian flights within the 4th quarter of this year.