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Thai Air gets new pilot

Thai Airways International's board has appointed Air Chief Marshal Siwakiat Jayema as acting president from July 1 as the junta reshuffles and restructures the loss-making carrier hit by months of political unrest, according to its filing to Stock Exchanges of Thailand (SEC) on Friday.

Siwakiat, also a board member, replaced Chokchai Panyayong, who had resigned from the post while maintaining his job as senior executive vice president in charge of corporate strategy and sustainable development, the airline told the Stock Exchange of Thailand on Friday.

This month the airline said other board members, including former chairman Ampon Kittiampon, would step down.

Air Chief Marshal Prajin Juntong, who is overseeing economic matters for the junta, remains chairman of Thai Airways to help turn around the state-controlled airline after the junta refused his resignation.

Prajin said previously he was worried about revenue, but added the airline’s aircraft purchasing plan would not be reviewed. It is due to take deliveries in the next five years. Thai Airways, which has been hit hard by fierce competition from low-cost and regional rivals, is implementing strategies to boost revenue, cut operating costs and scrap some benefits of the 15 members of the board. - Reuters

Nok Air plans Tokyo flights

Nok Airlines plans to start offering flights between Bangkok and Tokyo's Narita Airport as early as November, the head of the Thai low-cost carrier told The Nikkei in a recent interview.

Plans call for seven round trips a week, said CEO Patee Sarasin. The flights will be operated by NokScoot, a joint venture between Nok Air and Singapore Airlines affiliate Scoot. NokScoot will become the third low-cost carrier to fly between Thailand and Japan. Nok Air intends to offer flights of five hours or longer through NokScoot. Two other international routes are scheduled to be launched by NokScoot within the year.

Budget airlines have driven growth of the aviation market in Southeast Asia, yet competition has intensified with an influx of newcomers. Nok Air aims to tap demand at home and abroad by increasing popular international routes, including service to Japan.

Nok Air is considering launching flights under its own brand to Vietnam's Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City in October. Noting that the airline's service to Yangon, the largest city in Myanmar, "is successful because it is a good market", Patee said that flights to Laos and Cambodia as well as additional routes to Myanmar are a possibility given the strong demand.

Nok Air will hire pilots trained elsewhere. Patee said that this was not a problem now, pointing to the modest increase in flights. But the company hopes to eventually set up its own pilot school. - The Nikkei


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