Nok Air CEO Patee Sarasin stated Thai Airways earlier this month increased its stake in Nok from 39% to 49%, acquiring the 10% stake previously held by Krung Thai Bank. Thai Airways disclosed it paid THB165 million (USD5 million) for the stake. As a result, Nok is currently valued at THB1.65 billion (USD 53 million). Mr Sarasin stated Nok’s management team at the same time increased its stake from about 5% to 30%. Siam Commercial Bank Group still owns 11% while the remaining 10% is spread across several small shareholders. Mr Sarasin stated the restructuring of the ownership group will allow Nok to pursue faster growth as it will have fewer owners and one owner with a near majority stake. “It brings us closer to Thai Airways in many ways,” Mr Sarasin tells CAPA. “We are trying to complement Thai Airways. Holding 49% gives them a little more mandate.” [more – CAPA Analysis]
Thai Airways increases stake in Nok Air to 49%
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Thai Airways regional connectivity Pt 2: Thai Smile international expansion is a strategic necessity
Thai Airways' regional full service subsidiary Thai Smile is expected to accelerate international expansion over the next year as Thai Airways transitions to an all-widebody fleet. Adjustments in the group’s dual brand strategy are also possible as Thai Airways and Thai Smile could benefit from much closer integration.
Thai Smile currently only operates four international routes and allocates 90% of its seat capacity to the domestic market. However, the airline is poised to take over Thai Airways’ four remaining international narrowbody routes and should be used to expand the group’s presence in secondary cities in China, India and ASEAN.
This is the second part of a report on the Thai Airways Group's regional international network and strategy. The first part looked at how the group has fallen behind its rivals in Southeast Asia – particularly the Singapore Airlines Group – in improving regional connectivity. In this second part CAPA focuses on the strategy for Thai Smile and how the Thai Airways group could finally start to use Thai Smile to bolster regional connectivity.
Thai Airways falls behind Singapore Airlines Group with regional connectivity: Part 1
Thai Airways will enter a new phase over the next year as it completes its transformation plan and starts to consider potential options for resuming expansion. Regional international growth is the most logical area to focus on, using the group’s full service short haul subsidiary Thai Smile.
Thai Smile currently only serves four international destinations. As Thai Airways mainline transitions to an all-widebody fleet the group will need a much larger international network from Thai Smile.
Thai Airways should also examine better integration of Thai Smile, following the model used by Singapore Airlines (SIA) with its full service regional subsidiary SilkAir. The current setup, including separate reservation systems and sales teams, is far from ideal and must be improved in order for the Thai Airways Group to close the gap with the SIA Group in key markets such as China, India and ASEAN.