Thai Airways reportedly plans to transfer a number of domestic routes and its final six B737-400s to LCC subsidiary, Nok Air, as part of plans to win back market share from Thai AirAsia (Bangkok Post, 05-Nov-2009). Routes include services from Bangkok to Phitsanulok, Khon Kaen, Ubon Ratchathani and Mae Hong Son, which have been unprofitable for Thai Airways. However, THAI plans to wait until the two carriers have completed the “synergy” plan. Furthermore, Nok CEO, Patee Sarasin stated Nok is not yet ready to take on all the routes and aircraft THAI plans to relocate to the LCC. THAI meanwhile plans to maintain some of its local trunk routes, including services to Phuket and Chiang Mai, which connect to international services. THAI is also planning to increase its stake in the carrier to approximately 49%.
Thai Airways: "Before the mother [Thai Airways] passes on the heritage, the offspring [Nok] needs to behave itself and an agreement in detail needs to be worked out. What if we pass on some routes to them and for some reasons they cannot or are unwilling to operate?” Piyasvasti Amranand, President. Source: Bangkok Post, 05-Nov-2009.
Nok Air: "We would rather take it step by step, gradually work towards the role THAI may want to see us play,"Patee Sarasin, CEO. Source: Bangkok Post, 05-Nov-2009.