Nok Air Eyes China and India Markets, Says VC Patee Sarasin

10th Oct 2017

Thai-based budget airline Nok Air will take about 50% of its total revenue from China and India markets in the next two years, said this carrier’s Vice Chairman Patee Sarasin.

Mr. Sarasin said:

So within the next two years ... over 50% of the revenue will come from flying to places like China or India. So we’re sort of maneuvering the changes in our plan to actually expand to fly much longer with these 737s.

The former chief executive officer said that Nok Air is planning to expand into China and India markets and this way bounce back from having a couple of bad years.

At the moment, nothing is official, but several potential routes are already coming up. Two that could be the closest at the moment are Hong Kong-Hua Hin and Hong Kong-Phuket. As far as the latter, this route is already operated by Thai Airways International (THAI), Thai AirAsia, HK Express and Cathay Dragon, with a total of 7,500 seats per week among these four airlines.

On the other hand, no one flies directly between Hong Kong and Hua Hin and this is where Mr. Sarasin sees great potential.

When it comes to expanding in China, the budget airline is planning to increase the maximum take-off weight (MOTW) for its Boeing 737 MAX 8 aircraft, which it is supposed to receive soon. At the same time, it will retire three of its older Boeing 737-800s, which it currently has 21 in total in its fleet.

The carrier will also retire its two ATRs and replace them with Dash 8-400s to be used on its domestic network.

Sarasin also said that the airline’s marketing efforts in regional foreign markets could have been better in the past, but that they are now making strides in that direction as well. He pointed out the fact that Nok Air was able to get more revenue from connections it now offers, for instance, by allowing passengers to ticket through from Yangon to Phuket via Don Muang in Bangkok.

Last week, Sarasin said, should THAI continue to decrease its support, Nok Air will look for a new strategic partner and Singapore Airlines could be it.

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