For Traveldailynews.asia, Piya Yodmani, CEO NokScoot, unveils some of the future at NokScoot as the carrier is due to start its first flights by early 2015.
TravelDailyNews: How will NokScoot look like when it starts?
Piya Yodmani: The airline is due to commence its first flights by early 2015. And we will launch our communication campaign by October or November. We will initially operate with a fleet of three Boeing 777-200 from Singapore Airlines but retrofitted to the standards of NokScoot.
TDN: Do you think that NokScoot will be able to carve out its market in a highly competitive market such as Thailand, especially to Japan, one of the first destinations you want to serve?
P.Y.: We are looking at a huge growing market and there is definitely space for airlines. In Thailand, the market is growing tremendously as more people can afford to fly. We probably talk about a potential of 10 million local air travellers; Japan has a population of 100 million inhabitants, almost all of them having sufficient purchasing power to travel and fly. And then we have Northeast China with a very strong GDP per capita. We are probably talking of another 200 million people able to afford to fly. The Thailand-Japan market offers incredible potential: not only Japanese will be able to come two or three times in a year, even for a week end to Thailand or Southeast Asia. On the other side, Thai have been for long big fans of Japan. And now with low fares, more Thais can also afford to fly there. In fact, low cost carriers have totally changed in Asia the way to consume trips.
TDN: But how can NokScoot make a difference with the existing competition?
P.Y.: We offer a different service with a different philosophy than our main competitor AirAsia. And at the same time, we both benefit from the initiatives of the other as it generally helps stimulate and grow the market. We have an advantage compared to a totally brand new airline. Both Scoot and Nok Air are well known in their market and we are building business and synergies together. For Northeast Asian flying with us to Thailand, they will benefit from all the regional connections of Nok Air in Thailand and Myanmar but also of Scoot flights to Singapore. We now work at providing seamless travel with our partners. We already offer fly-through services when booking a connection.
TDN: How will the NokScoot product look like?
P.Y.: It will be different in someways of what passengers have on Nok Air. Even the logo will look different. We will for example offer 24 Premium Economy seats as well. However, wait until October/November to learn more…
TDN: Can you tell about the future destinations?
P.Y.: We look in priority to Northeast Asia, Japan and China first. We will also at some other destinations. We need to maximize the use of our Boeing 777-200. We were thinking about India but Nok approach has been difficult. We could also fly to shorter-distance destinations.
TDN: Will you have some cooperation with Thai Airways International or Thai Smile?
P.Y.: We want to cooperate to create a strong low cost airlines group. We already approach the management of Thai Smile, which depends of Thai Airways. Cooperation still needs to be now defined between us and Thai Smile. We recently welcomed them when they launched their first flights to Don Mueang.