Nok Air wraps up business rehab plan
Budget carrier Nok Air is wrapping up next year's business rehabilitation plan, and will submit it to the airline's board next month, the airline's chief executive officer Wutthiphum Jurangkul says.
The announcement came after the airline said on Tuesday it expected to cut losses by almost half from last year's figure of 2.7 billion baht by implementing full-scale, revenue-augmentation measures.
Mr Wutthiphum said yesterday the business plan is due for submission to the airline's board early next month. The plan was drawn after several steps to rehabilitate the carrier were considered, having taken into consideration key factors such as oil prices and foreign exchange.
If and when the business plan is approved, it will become clearer whether Nok Air will need recapitalisation.
Mr Wutthiphum said the airline is studying the feasibility of introducing direct flights from Don Mueang airport to lucrative markets in China, Japan and India. The focus will be on second-tier cities with high profit potential such as Okinawa and Kagoshima in Japan, Hebei in China and Visakhapatnam in India.
Starting on Dec 18, Nok Air will launch an inaugural service from Don Mueang airport to Hiroshima in Japan. The five-hour flight is expected to be popular as passengers will not have to travel via Osaka.
Also, the carrier is looking to open direct international links with major provinces such as Phuket and Chiang Mai to Shanghai.
Mr Wutthiphum said the airline is working to increase its international traffic from 20% of its commercial flights at present to 30%. The aircraft utilisation rate will also be pushed up from 11 hours to 12 hours per day.
At the end of the year, the airline will add two chartered Boeing 737-800 aircraft to its fleet of 24 planes.
Mr Wutthiphum said Nok Air is also improving on punctuality with on-time arrivals rising to 80% from 60% on the flights it operates.