NokScoot, a joint venture between Nok Air (the budget offshoot of Thai Airways International) and Singapore Airlines’ no-frills Scoot, is restricting itself to short-haul service after being one of the Thai-registered carriers penalised for the Thai government’s inattention to global aviation regulations.
The International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO), a UN body, recently determined that Thailand’s aviation authority has not been kept in compliance with international safety standards.
Thailand’s Transport Minister, Prajin Juntong, declared recently ICAO was satisfied with the government’s response to its safety concerns, adding that Thailand was on track to meet international standards for regulating the transport of hazardous goods, including flammable substances, and the issuing of air operators’ licences.
NokScoot and Thai AirAsia X will probably still be able to pursue expansion in China, according to CAPA analysts, “but Japan and Korea are critical markets for both start-ups”.
The Bangkok Post reported at the weekend that the Bangkok-Singapore route, set to start on 20 May 2015, appears to be the only route currently confirmed on NokScoot’s flight schedule.
The airline’s other planned route, Bangkok-Nanjing, is likely to miss its scheduled launch due to complications in obtaining necessary permits from China, NokScoot insiders told the Bangkok Post.
NokScoot’s plans for charter and scheduled flights to Japan and South Korea have struck major snags after a ban by the civil aviation authorities in those two countries.
The ICAO fiasco has repeatedly delayed NokScoot’s launch. The airline has two Boeing 777-200 wide-body jets sourced from Scoot, but they are being scarcely flown.
On the busy Bangkok-Singapore route, NokScoot will duel with Thai Airways International, Jetstar, Singapore Airlines, Cathay Pacific, Tiger Airways, Thai AirAsia and Scoot. Scoot now runs a B787 Dreamliner on the route.
Written by Peter Needham