The airline cancelled the flights on Wednesday, just one day after Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha and his Cabinet flew in to officially open the new airport.
The airline reportedly told General Yodyuth Boonyathikarn, the committee’s chairman, that continuing the Don Mueang-Betong flights would not be cost-effective as there are very few passengers. The airline also asked for financial support from the government, especially in the form of reduced fees for the airport, parking, air navigation and office, as well as a reduction in excise tax for aircraft fuel.
Nok Air was initially scheduled to fly into Betong from Don Mueang on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.
“The committee has accepted the proposals for fee and tax reduction and will forward them to relevant agencies to design suitable aid measures,” Yodyuth said. “However, the airline’s request to have the government issue a 75 per cent revenue guarantee for flying to Betong will have to be approved by the Cabinet.”
Nok Air’s chief operating officer Suthee Chulajata reportedly said the 75 per cent revenue guarantee would be a deciding factor on whether or not the airline will continue operating the Don Muang-Betong flights.
“We need to secure enough customers to ensure the flights are cost-effective. However, due to the energy crisis and the Covid-19 situation, the airline will need more time to adjust its marketing plans,” he said. “We insist we will try to restart flights to Betong, as the airport has high potential, especially in terms of connections to neighbouring countries.”
Nok Air is reportedly flying a group of “influencers”, namely YouTubers, social-media publicists and tour operators, to Betong on Friday to promote the airline in the South.
Published : March 18, 2022
By : THE NATION