Nok Air cancels 20 Tuesday flights

Nok Air cancels 20 Tuesday flights

Nok Air, still reeling from a pilots' walkout last weekend, has cancelled 20 flights scheduled for Tuesday but said it had allies that could help serve passengers.

The cancellations were announced on its Facebook page with no reasons given. They are:

  • DD7106 Don Mueang-Hat Yai (DMK-HDY)
  • DD7107 Hat Yai-Don Mueang (HDY-DMK)
  • DD7818 Don Mueang-Nakhon Si Thammarat (DMK-NST)
  • DD7819 Nakhon Si Thammarat-Don Mueang (NST-DMK)
  • DD7208 Don Mueang-Surat Thani (DMK-URT)
  • DD7209 Surat Thani-Don Mueang (URT-DMK)
  • DD7406 Don Mueang-Trang (DMK-TST)
  • DD7407 Tang-Don Mueang (TST-DMK)
  • DD8414 Don Mueang-Phitsanulok (DMK-PHS)
  • DD8415 Phitsanulok-Don Mueang (PHS-DMK)
  • DD8718 Don Mueang-Chiang Rai (DMK-CEI)
  • DD8719 Chiang Rai-Don Mueang (CEI-DMK)
  • DD9214 Don Mueang-Udon Thani (DMK-UTH)
  • DD9215 Udon Thani-Don Mueang (UTH-DMK)
  • DD9314 Don Mueang-Ubon Ratchathani (DMK-UBP)
  • DD9315 Ubon Ratchathani-Don Mueang (UBP-DMK)
  • DD9410 Don Mueang Sakon Nakhon (DMK-SNO)
  • DD9411 Sakon Nakhon-Don Mueang (SNO-DMK)
  • DD9814 Don Mueang-Khon Kaen (DMK-KKC)
  • DD9815 Khon Kaen-Don Mueang (KKC-DMK)

It asked passengers seeking more information to call its 1318 hotline.

Chula Sukmanop, director-general of the Civil Aviation Authority of Thailand (CAAT), said Nok Air had already informed authorities in advance about the cancellations.

“The airline said it had internal problems and had already contacted its allies to help serve the affected passengers. It has done the right things,” he said.

Nok Air CEO Patee Sarasin said the carrier needed time to get its operations back to normal following the dispute with its pilots.

“We have coordinated with Thai Airways International, Thai Smile and Lion Air to help meet the demand. We have also reported to the Civil Aviation Authority,” he told Manager Online.

Nok Air staff told Thairath Online that the carrier had already informed the passengers on the affected flights and offered them a choice of getting a refund, changing flights or switching to allied airlines such as Thai Smile.

They said the change was normal to suit the current situation but declined to comment on whether it involved the conflict with pilots that resulted in more than 1,000 passengers being stranded on Valentine's Day.

A staff member added that the flights being cancelled on Tuesday were the same as those cancelled earlier. On Feb 14, Nok Air cancelled nine flights after its pilots went on strike.

The CAAT is currently investigating the Feb 14 incident, which resulted in the firing of one pilot, suspension of two others and an inquiry into seven more.

Nok Air said earlier that the strike resulted from the dissatisfaction of some pilots who did not pass a new aviation management audit based on standards set by the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) and the International Air Transport Association. Among the EASA measures is a ban on pilots concurrently holding management positions.

The pilots said separately they wouldn't even call their action a strike. They claimed the cancellations were due to a critical shortage of pilots as two of them had called in sick on Feb 14.

Regulators are also looking into reports that pilots on the budget carrier were being forced to exceed maximum flying hours.

According to its data disclosed to the Stock Exchange of Thailand, Nok Air had 166 pilots who flew 56,553 flights or 340.7 flights per pilot in 2014.

By comparison, Thai Air Asia employed 379 pilots flying 85,074 flights or 224.5 per pilot per year. Bangkok Airways, a SET-listed full-service airline, did not disclose the information.

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