Low-cost budget airline Nok Air’s gamble of investing in a special route to boost tourism has backfired to the tune of 40 million baht.
The Thai airline, which mostly operates domestic services out of Don Mueang International Airport, introduced the Bangkok to Betong route in February but plan to scrap it in July after suffering heavy losses.
The Betong International Airport in the southern province of Yala fully opened for commercial flights in February after the opening schedule was delayed due to Covid-19. Nok Air teamed up with a number of different tourism agencies and the state department to provide a direct flight from Bangkok to Betong to boost tourism in the province.
But bookings never really took off and Nok Air had to call for support from the government to cover its operation cost. The low-budget airline resumed flights on April 29 with a three-month contract but Nok Air CEO Wuttiphum Chulangkun doesn’t feel it will work.
Wuttiphum revealed the 1 hour 45 minutes’ Bangkok-Betong route was losing money, despite government support, and operational costs were too high to make it profitable.
“We have to decide whether we should drop the route or not after the promotion with travel agencies ends in July,” revealed Wuttiphum.
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