The airline was established in February 2004 and started operations on 23 July 2004. It had 130 employees in March 2007 and around 1,400 in 2014. Nok Air began its first international service on 31 May 2007, with daily flights to Bangalore, India.
Nok Air serves the highest number of domestic routes within Thailand (24 routes). This strategy has been successful. In 2013, Nok Air generated 1,066 million Thai baht in net profit on revenues of 11.3 billion Thai baht.
Since its inception, Nok Air has been operating largely independently from Thai Airways International. This has led to some friction between the two companies. To gain greater control of Nok Air, Thai Airways has tried to purchase the shares of other shareholders, notably Krung Thai Bank. However, although Thai Airways and Krung Thai Bank are both state enterprises under the control of the Ministry of Finance (Thailand), Krung Thai Bank refused to sell its shares in Nok Air to Thai Airways. The purchase would have lifted Thai Airways’ stake in Nok Air from 39% to 49%.
In 2014 Nok Air announced a joint venture with Scoot Airlines ( a low cost subsidiary of Singapore Airlines ) to form NokScoot, a low cost regional airline based out of Don Muang Airport in Bangkok.