We Expect To Add At Least Seven Aircrafts To Our Fleet In 2019: Giam Ming Toh, Deputy CEO, Nokscoot Airlines
he NokScoot brand is perfectly positioned to serve the growing Indian market because the airline’s slogan, ‘Fly Awesome’ signifies the brand’s belief in offering value air fares, empowering passengers to make choices and providing a refreshing travel experience with friendly and warm Thai hospitality
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“Recent research shows that Indian travellers had traditionally gone on vacation in family groups with the key decision-maker being between 35 and 55 years old. But over the years, the profile has changed and the average Indian travelling abroad now tends to be young, flying alone and holidaying,” said Giam Ming Toh, Deputy CEO, Nokscoot Airlines.
With this, international air traffic from India has grown six times over the last two decades – from approximately 1 million in 1997-98 to 6 million in 2017-18, and is poised to grow further. India is expected to become the world’s third largest air travel market by 2024 when it overtakes UK.
With the passenger demanding more from the airline, Toh feels that the passengers recognize different options, more so than ever before. “Airlines need to offer not only competitive fares but comfort features and good experience both on the ground and in the air,” he said. “At NokScoot, we deploy the spacious wide body jet that most full service airlines are using but at lower fare and with Thai hospitality onboard. NokScoot puts fun into budget travel. We offer a value choice to passengers with our fun and friendly culture. NokScoot always give choices. Passengers can tailor their travel to suit personal preferences, partaking of only those elements they want and not subsidizing the choices of others. Meals, preferred seats and excess baggage amongst many other items, will all be available for selection.”
Currently, NokScoot can accommodate a total of 3,320 incoming and outgoing passengers a week. Subject to market demand and regulatory approval, the airline plans to ramp up frequencies on the Delhi service and plans are afoot to introduce one more route from India to Bangkok which will be announced in due course.
“NokScoot is a Thailand-registered carrier and a joint venture between Thailand’s low-cost carrier (LCC) Nok Air and Singapore Airlines budget subsidiary Scoot. Decisions to deploy aircraft are our own. Currently, we consider the B777-200 the right fit for our Delhi operation, though there are plans for NokScoot to add smaller B737-800 narrow-body jets which will allow us to serve a greater number of routes,” he said.
Speaking about the USP of the airline, Toh explained, “NokScoot is the Thailand-registered LCC operating B777-200 wide-body jets non-stop between Bangkok and It Nanjing, Qingdao, Shenyang, Tianjin and, X’ian in China, Taipei in Taiwan, Tokyo and Osaka in Japan and Delhi the newest route to debut on December 18 in India. B777-200 is spacious, offering more legroom, wider seats, efficient and pleasant in-flight services. We offer an unbundled product that allows the passenger to pay only for the services they wish to enjoy. Passengers can tailor their experience to their needs. Furthermore, we provide easy connectivity to Thai domestic routes operated by Nok Air.”
With India’s outbound MICE traffic being one of the fastest growing segments, Thailand is high on the region’s list of MICE destinations because it offers elements conducive to successful MICE and the opportunities to combine with leisure activities. The Kingdom has had extensive MICE facilities, supporting services, accommodations of various classes and types to easily fit one’s budget, great shopping, restaurants and globally-known street food, while Indian meals can be easily located in the city.
“Our inflight meal service includes Indian, Thai, Japanese, Korean and international fare as well as vegetarian options. We make sure that they are authentic in taste and are priced reasonably. We are particularly proud to offer Indian favorites - Murgh and Mughlai with Rice, Aloo Peas and Patan with Roti, Chickpea Masala – in our newly-released pre-order menu,” he added.
NokScoot is making arrangement with its sister airline Nok Air to provide check-through service at Bangkok’s Don Mueang International Airport for those with onward flights to major Thai cities like Phuket, Chiang Mai, Chiang Rai and Hat Yai on Nok Air. As an added convenience there are plans to extend it to NokScoot’s passengers travelling from Delhi in the first quarter of 2019. By booking for flights operated by NokScoot and Nok Air at the same time also means lower interline fares which will appeal to India’s outbound MICE traffic.
With the marketing strategy for India, Toh’s priority is to build NokScoot’s brand awareness in both B2B and B2C markets through online and offline media. “There are three prime targets we are zeroing on: Travel Agents, Consumers or budget travellers aged 20-45 years old and MICE travellers. In view of the fact MICE travellers from India surged 36% in 2017 from the previous year and rising, this presents a good opportunity for NokScoot to serve this market,” he added.
Talking about the future plans, Toh said that we are planning to boost flight frequency on existing routes, adding new routes in China, India and Japan, and entering South Korea. “We expect to add at least seven aircraft to our fleet in 2019. They will be B777-200 and some narrow body aircraft,” he concluded.