Nok Air saw efficiency gains from implementing a turnaround programme last year and narrowed financial losses, but ended 2019 in a weaker cash position.

The Thai low-cost carrier says it is expanding route and flight network, aircraft utilisation rate and “efficiency in business operation”, while reducing its fleet will allow it to save on costs like aircraft rental, maintenance and personnel.

During the year, Nok increased average aircraft utilisation from 9.36h per day in 2018 to 9.96h in 2019. It ended the period with a fleet of 24 aircraft, having removed two ATR 72-500s while adding one Boeing 737-800.

The airline and its subsidiaries posted a net loss of Bt3 billion ($93.8 million) for the year ended 31 December 2019, down from 2018’s Bt4 billion net loss.

This was on operating revenues of Bt20 billion in the 2019 calendar year, up by 1.2% year-on-year, while operating expenses declined by 2.7% to Bt23.1 billion. Operating loss widened by Bt880 million to Bt3.1 billion.

Nok’s cash and cash equivalents have more than halved since the start of 2018. From Bt3.17 billion to Bt1.42 billion over the course of 2018, this fell further to Bt1.23 billion at the end of 2019.

Nok says items that “highly affected” cash flow are “trade and other current payables, aircraft maintenance reserves and aircraft maintenance paid”.

The carrier says that it raised over Bt1.5 billion this month from issuing new stock, which will help improve its financial status.

Shareholder Thai Airways waived its subscription rights in the same exercise, and thus its stake in the budget carrier was reduced from 16% to 13.3%.