NOK Air Drops Phuket

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Nok Air, Thailand
Nok Air, Thailand

Low-cost Thai airline, Nok Air has announced it will be cutting its daily flights between Bangkok and the Thai holiday island of Phuket from the end of July.

The latest cut in service follows the cancellation of flights by the airline to Chiang Rai, Ubon Ratchatanee and Krabi earlier this month.

Nok Air, the budget arm of Thai Airways, blamed the cuts on oil prices and the general economic downturn.

The airline will retain services from Bangkok to Udon Thani, Chiang Mai and Haad Yai.

The cancelation of service by Nok Air will leave Thai AirAsia and Thai Airways as the only two airlines operating the Bangkok to Phuket route, with Thai AirAsia currently operating six flights a day and Thai Airways about 10.

The cancelation by Nok Air is a further blow to the tourist destination and comes on top of the grounding of Orient Thai Airline and its low-cost subsidiary, One-Two-Go last week, by Thailand’s Civil Aviation Department because of poor safety standards.

The reduction in cheap air flights is likely to see many local travellers return to bus travel, and result in international visitors staying in Bangkok or choosing alternative holiday destinations to Phuket.

Last November Nok Air cancelled all flights between Bangkok and Bangalore and last May between Bangkok and Hanoi.

Earlier this month the airline announced it would cut management salaries by 20 per cent following an announcement that it had suffered operating losses of Bt114 million (about US$3.5 million).

Nok Airline was established in December 2003 and started operations on July 23, 2004. It is 39 per cent owned by Thai Airways.

Travellers with fully paid tickets will be transferred to Thai Airways International and Thai AirAsia.