Thai LCC Nok Air is hoping a reduction in aircraft numbers will help reverse its deepening net losses.

Nok and its subsidiaries reported a 2019 first-quarter net loss of THB391.3 million ($12.4 million), widened from a net loss of THB1.2 million in the year-ago quarter.

Revenue fell by 19.7% year-over-year (YOY), partly because of fleet reduction and a 10.7% decline in average air fares as market competition increased. Aircraft utilization rates also decreased slightly.

The carrier phased out its two ATR 72-500s in the March quarter as part of its turnaround plan, cutting its fleet to 23 aircraft. This total is down by six from the 29 aircraft operated by Nok a year earlier.

As well as the ATRs, Nok has removed four Boeing 737-800s over the past 12 months. The airline’s fleet now comprises 15 737s and eight Bombardier Q400s.

Expenses for the quarter declined 3.8%, thanks to lower fleet operations and fuel cost. However, unit costs were up 2.8%.

Capacity was down 18.5% YOY and traffic decreased 22%. This caused load factor to drop 4.1 percentage points to 89.7% YOY.

NokScoot, which is a joint venture between Nok and Scoot, reported a loss of THB109.8 million in the March quarter, widened from a loss of THB37 million in the 2018 1Q. Revenue rose 12%, although costs rose by 19.9% YOY.

Adrian Schofield, adrian.schofield@informa.com