Nok hit by pilot strike

BANGKOK, 16 February 2016: Thailand’s budget airline, Nok Air, cancelled nine domestic flights on Sunday evening after pilots went on strike without any warning, leaving some 1,500 passengers stranded at Don Mueang airport.

The airline said in a statement issued to the media, Monday, that the cancellation of the nine flights on Sunday evening was due to an unpredictable incident with pilots going on strike.

Usually, industrial action in a service industry begins with a warning and advance notice of an intended strike. But in this case it appeared to be a “wild cat” strike that led to considerable inconvenience and costs for the airline’s customers.

inside no 2Flights that were cancelled were scheduled to depart for Chiang Mai, Khon Khaen, Hat Yai, Nakhon Si Thammarat, Surat Thani, Phitsanuloke, Phuket and Ubon Ratchathani.

“Nok Air apologises for the inconvenience caused to its passengers,” the airline stated it its Monday announcement. It promised to take responsibility and offer refunds and compensations according to Department of Civil Aviation regulations.

“The airline has complied with Thai aviation standards and is in the process of upgrading its standards to meet with IOSA (IATA Operation Safety Audit), the global safety management. Some pilots did not meet the new criteria and went on strike to express their discontent,” it explained.

The airline CEO, Patee Sarasin, told local media that the strike was initiated by 10 pilot. He claimed they were not satisfied with airline’s new policy to upgrade standards to meet safety rules set by the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA).

“Some of pilots were disqualified in the process and walked off the job on Sunday in protest.”

Deputy Transport Minister Ormsin Chivapruck called an urgent afternoon meeting on Monday to settle the problem.

The meeting at Ministry of Transport discussed ways of coping with the problem and preventing a recurrence. A large number of passengers were stranded as a result of the strike.

He said Thai Airways International, Thai Smiles and Thai Lion Air had confirmed they would help if Nok Air continued to have problems handling passengers.

Nok Air resumed flights as usual from Don Muang airport late Monday.