• NokScoot, a long-haul low-cost carrier based in Thailand, struggled to turn a profit and expand its network.
  • Despite being backed by Nok Air and Scoot, the carrier faced intense competition.
  • The airline was eventually forced to cease operations in June 2020 due to the impact of Covid-19.

In the summer of 2004, an Asian low-cost carrier emerged in Thailand called Nok Air. With its unmistakable livery prominently featuring a beak at the front of each aircraft, as “nok” translates to “bird,” the airline has become a significant player in the region. Today, Nok Air boasts Thailand’s most extensive domestic route network, flying to an impressive 23 local destinations, though it also operates limited services to China, Myanmar, Vietnam, and India. For the most part, it’s not a long-haul operator.

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Approximately 880 miles (1410 km) by air to the south of Bangkok is the city-state of Singapore. Many people will be familiar with the Singaporean flag carrier’s subsidiary, Scoot, which itself features an extensive network throughout Asia plus some longer-haul services to Europe and Oceania. Scoot commenced its operations in June 2012, and just a year and a half later, approached Nok Air for a new venture that would bridge each airline’s advantage.

A new long-haul LCC enters

On July 25th, 2014, NokScoot began regularly scheduled passenger services from its base at Bangkok Don Mueang International Airport. Owned 51% by Nok Air and the other 49% by Scoot, NokScoot promised long-haul travel from Thailand at affordable fares, joining the fierce competition that is Asian long-haul low-cost operations. Singapore Airlines would provide a small fleet of Boeing 777-200s, painted with a combination of the two airlines’ liveries, for the new LCC to utilize on services to Western India, Northeast China, South Korea, Japan, and some shorter haul destinations like Hong Kong and Taipei.

Two NokScoot Boeing 777s parked next to a Scoot aircraft.
Photo: Kittipong Chararoj /

Unfortunately, things were tough right from the start. Notably, NokScoot was never able to record a full year’s profit during its time as a company. As the Bangkok-based English news outlet, The Nation, explains,

“Much of this was contributed to the challenges in expanding its network in an intensely competitive environment…”

Despite being the child of a largely successful local airline and a subsidiary of one of the world’s most respected and celebrated carriers, NokScoot couldn’t quite spread its wings. It offered reasonable fares on point-to-point services to otherwise popular cities: Tokyo, Delhi, Shanghai, and so on. However, on these routes, the young Bangkok-based carrier was competing with well-established legacy airlines that critically had robust onward connections as part of their own networks or that of an alliance.

A NokScoot Boeing 777-200 being pushed back.
Photo: imranahmedsg /

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The fate of several carriers in 2020

Finally, when Covid brought aviation and many other industries to a grinding halt in 2020, that would mark the end of the airline. NokScoot attempted to stay afloat with government support during the first few months of the pandemic, but nothing came of it. With seemingly no other option, it first laid off many employees and returned three of the Boeing widebodies to SQ before being liquidated, formally ceasing operations on June 26th, 2020.

Did you ever fly with NokScoot? Have you flown on either of the two LCCs, Nok Air or Scoot? Let us know in the comments below.

Sources:, The Nation