According to Nok Air’s chief commercial officer, Teerapol Chotichanapibal, the airline will discontinue its Betong service in Thailand once the second phase of cooperation between Nok Air and tour businesses to develop tourism in Betong finishes on October 28.
He highlighted financial challenges in handling the Betong flight route, claiming that the airline will need its plane for other domestic flights during the winter.
Nok Air has been selling packages for direct flights to and from Betong in two phases, the first from April 29 to July 29 and the second from July 31 to October 28. Despite maintaining a load factor of more than 90%, the airline said it had incurred losses due to operational expenditures, particularly jet fuel costs.
Teerapol, on the other hand, mentioned the prospect of restarting direct flights to and from Betong in the future, provided certain conditions are met.
The rising cost of fuel
After Russia invaded Ukraine, sanctions against Russia caused the crude oil supply around the world the shrink. This coincided with COVID-19 travel restrictions easing and demand for travel increasing causing a perfect storm in the demand for jet fuel.
Globally, the cost of jet fuel has risen around 149% since a year ago. As a result, commercial airlines are being forced to charge more for passenger travel to compensate for the rising cost of fuel. In some instances, flights and routes have been cut back in order to meet budgetary requirements.
Nok Air is a budget carrier under the management of Nok Airlines Public Company Limited. Thai Airways International is its major shareholder along with other forward-looking investors in the company. The airline was initially registered on February 10, 2004, under the name Sky Asia Limited which was subsequently changed to Nok Airlines and has since been trading in the Stock Exchange of Thailand from June 20, 2013.