Thai low-cost carrier Nok Air pins turnaround on China, India flights

Published February 20, 2018, 12:00 AM

by manilabulletin_admin

By Reuters

Bangkok – Nok Airlines Pcl, the struggling low-cost subsidiary of Thai Airway International Pcl , aims to turn around operations by growing international revenue with more flights to China and India, a top executive said.

The carrier, which posted a loss of 1.85 billion baht ($58.95 million) last year, aims to increase revenue by 3 billion baht this year from 20.4 billion baht in 2017, by carrying 9 million passengers, 4 percent more than a year prior, Chief Executive Piya Yodmani told reporters at an earnings review.

He also said the carrier aims to increase revenue from international operations to 40 percent of its total from 20 percent a year earlier.

Piya, who took over as CEO in September after the resignation of Patee Sarasin, said Nok targets aircraft utilization of 12 hours, up from 10.4 hours in 2017, with more red-eye flights and routes in China to boost earnings as Chinese tourist arrivals surge in Thailand.

“We are waiting for approval to fly into three cities in India with the possibility of increasing routes there,” Piya said.

Hotel and retail groups are among the main beneficiaries of a Thai tourism boom, while Thai airlines struggle with competition and fuel costs.

Nok is deferring delivery of 8 Boeing Co. 737-MAXs to next year through 2021 due to a “red ocean of competition,” Vice President Surachart Angkasuwan told Reuters.

Tourism accounts for about 12 percent of Southeast Asia’s second-largest economy, with the country expecting 37.55 million arrivals this year, up 6.1 percent from 2017.