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Nok Air expects its higher capacity to boost sales to Bt12bn

Nok Airlines Co projects ticket sales to rise by 50 per cent to Bt12 billion this year, the highest growth in its nine years of operation, as long as political stability remains and no natural disaster intervenes.



Low-cost carrier Nok Air is getting a big boost from rising passenger capacity as four Boeing 737-800 aircraft are delivered throughout the year. Each jet carries 186 passengers, and they will replace ageing planes that can serve only 150. Overall, the airline's capacity will increase by 20-30 per cent.



Currently, its fleet totals 16 aircraft. Four more new 737s will be delivered next year, also to replace the ageing planes. Cabin factor this year is expected to be 85 per cent, similar to last year.

Yesterday, Nok Airlines invited media to fly to Chiang Mai on the second Boeing 737-800 it has received under its current leasing order. The aircraft is equipped with winglets on its wingtips that help lower fuel consumption by up to 3.5 per cent.

The highlight of the aircraft is its beautiful interior. Boeing's new interior design includes a major makeover of the lighting system, new ceiling panels, new air vents, new passenger-service units and new flight-attendant panels, all aimed at improving passenger comfort.

Pinyot Pibulsonggram, Nok Airlines' vice president for sales and marketing, said rising ticket sales would also stem from an increase in flight frequencies.

The Bangkok-Mae Sot run will double to four flights daily, while Bangkok-Chumphon also doubles to two per day.

In the airline's turboprop fleet, the ATR 72 will replace the smaller Saab 340. Starting next month on the Mae Sot and Chumphon runs, the new aircraft will be able to carry 66 passengers, up from 30 at present.

The company will look into adding destinations such as Ranong and Krabi. The network expansion will include both flights via Bangkok and inter-provincial routes.

By midyear, Nok Airlines plans to list on the Stock Exchange of Thailand.

However, Pinyot declined to reveal details on this. The funds raised are expected to be spent on expanding its network regionally. Myanmar is being considered as the first nation under |this plan.

Thai Airways International, the national carrier, holds a 49-per-cent stake in Nok Air.

The two airlines have worked together on arranging flight networks to avoid overlapping of routes.


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