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Thai Airways International
Founded 1957
Commenced operations May 1, 1960
Hubs Suvarnabhumi Airport
Focus cities
Frequent flyer program Royal Orchid Plus
Member lounge Royal First Lounge
Royal Orchid Spa
Royal Silk Lounge
Royal Orchid Lounge
Alliance Star Alliance
Fleet size 92 (+15 orders)
Destinations 71 (59[1]/12)international/domestic
Company slogan Smooth as silk
Parent company Thai Ministry of Finance[2]
Headquarters Bangkok, Thailand
Key people Ampon Kittiampon (Chairman) Piyasvasti Amranand(President)

Thai Airways International Public Company Limited (Thai: การบินไทย)(SET: THAI) (abbreviated here to "Thai") is the national air carrier of Thailand, operating out of Suvarnabhumi Airport, and is a founding member of the Star Alliance network. It has its head office in Chatuchak, Bangkok.[3][4] Thai is a major shareholder which hold 39% shares of Nok Air - a low-cost Bangkok based carrier.

The airline also operates one of the longest non-stop commercial flights, including the 18 hours non-stop flight from Bangkok to Los Angeles.

Skytrax awarded Thai Airways International 'Worlds Best Cabin Staff and The Best Airline in the World' in 2006, while placing second in the 'Airline of the Year' category in 2007.[5] Thai's first class lounge at Suvarnabhumi Airport was awarded World's Best First Class Lounge by Skytrax in 2009.

Thai Airways International has received an award for the excellence of its inflight hygiene measures by the World Health Organization.[6]




Beginning of Thai Airways International

The airline started as Thai Airways International, a joint venture between Scandinavian Airlines System or SAS which initially held a 30% share capital of 2 million Baht, along with a domestic carrier, Thai Airways Company (Thai: เดินอากาศไทย) to create an international wing for Thai Airways. SAS helped Thai in managing, marketing and operating its business.

The carrier's first flight was on 1 May 1960. Flights were operated to nine overseas Asian destinations out of Bangkok. The first intercontinental services started in 1971 to Australia, then to Europe in 1972 and North America in 1980.

End of cooperative

On 1 April 1977, after 17 years of capital participation by SAS, the Thai government bought out the remaining 15% of SAS-owned shares and Thai became an airline fully owned by the Thai government.

One national airline policy

On 1 April 1988, Thai Airways Company or TAC, which was the operator of all domestic flights, and the international division, on behalf of the then-Prime Minister Gen. Prem Tinsulanonda, in a goal to have a single national carrier, merged to form the present company, Thai Airways International.[7]

Thai Airways International's head office - Chatuchak, Bangkok

Modern times

On 25 June 1991, Thai listed its shares on the Stock Exchange of Thailand and offered them to the public. The Thai public offering of shares is the largest ever undertaken in the country.[citation needed]

On 14 May 1997, Thai, along with Lufthansa, Air Canada, Scandinavian Airlines System and United Airlines, founded the world's first and now the largest airlines cooperation called "Star Alliance".[citation needed]

In early 2005, the arrival of the A340-500 and A340-600 coincided with a change to the airline's image, including a new livery and a revised font for the title "THAI".[citation needed]

On 1 May 2005, the airline began a nonstop Bangkok-New York service (TG790/791) with a new A340-500. Citing very high fuel costs, Thai discontinued the JFK service as of July 1, 2008, even though the airline had been able to fill 80% of the seats, leaving LAX as the only Thai Airways destination in the United States and North America.[8]

Financial trouble

After achieving profitability for the previous 40 years, Thai made a loss for the first time in 2008 at around 21 billion Baht on high fuel costs and Thailand's political situation.[9] As of Q2 of 2009, after a series of restructuring initiative, the carrier returned to a net profit of 2.5 billion Baht.[10]

Thai Airways has announced that it is trying to sell its fleet of four Airbus A340-500 aircraft which was used to fly between Bangkok and New York, but has not yet done so due to the world economic crisis and the weak market for an aircraft with a relatively high seat-mile-cost. The Airbus A340-500s were used for flights between Bangkok and Oslo for some months during 2009, and currently flies between Bangkok and Athens. All four airliners will stay in the fleet and might be reconfiguration and deployed on other profitable routes. As of October 2009, it appears that at least one A340 is back serving the LAX route.[citation needed]

According to the special interview of Mr. Wallop, one of Thai's board of directors, stated that it is "Unavoidable" for the airline to resume flights to New York because A340-500s are still there. The plan is to make all planes better utilized, add more seats and move from New York JFK to Newark Liberty International Airport, which is a hub of new Star Alliance member, Continental Airlines.[11].


Corporate image

Thai Airways is one of the few airlines with a uniform change policy. International female flight attendants are required to change from their corporate purple suits (for use outside the cabin) into their traditional Thai dress (as seen on the company's marketing campaigns) prior to the general boarding of passengers. They are also required to change back into the former prior to disembarkation. Cabin crew of nationalities other than Thai are not allowed to wear the traditional Thai dress.


Boeing 747-400 in 2005-onwards colours
File:Thai airways A340-500 hs-tna takeoff arp.jpg
Thai 777-200s in the old (right) and new (left) liveries at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport

The Thai Airways International fleet consists of the following aircraft as of October 2009:[12]

Thai Airways International Fleet
Aircraft Total Orders Passengers
(First/Royal Silk/Premium Economy/Economy)
Airbus A300-600 17 0 247(0/46/0/201)
Airbus A330-300 15 5 299(0/36/0/263)
Airbus A340-500 4 0 215(0/60/42/113)
Airbus A340-600 6 0 267(8/60/0/199)
Airbus A380-800 0 6 TBA
Boeing 737-400 9 0 150(0/12/0/138) include 4 lease out to Nok Air
Boeing 747-400 18 0 375(10/40/0/325)
Boeing 777-200 8 0 309(0/30/0/279)
Boeing 777-200ER 6 0 292(0/30/0/262)
Boeing 777-300 6 0 364(0/34/0/330)
Boeing 777-300ER 0 6 Aircraft to be leased from Jet Airways and Air India
ATR 72 2 0 66(0/0/0/66) include 2 lease out to Nok Air
Total 84(91) 17
  • An average age of THAI's fleet was 12 years old as at October 2009.[13]
  • Thai Airways Cargo leases two 777-200LRF to serve heavy cargo service route (Frankfurt and Dubai as at March 2010).
  • Thai Airways has signed a 3-year lease contract on three Boeing 777-300ER from Jet Airways and will get the aircraft in April 2010. Another three Boeing 777-300ER to be leased from Air India as well to replace the delay with Airbus A380-800 and the delays with its new Airbus A330-330 due to the seat specification issues by the seat manufacturer. [14]
  • Thai Airways' Board of Directors has approved the purchasing of eight 787s which scheduled to be delivered in 2012 due to available lot from cancelation of other airlines. The series of the 787 is not confirmed yet.
  • 12 Boeing 747-400 planned to be fitted with PTV/AVOD on its economy class soon, other 6 aircrafts will not be fitted due to the aircraft retirement plan.
  • Thai Airways’ Boeing 747-400, registration HS-TGP, has been painted with ‘Thai International’ design as a part of THAI’s 50th Anniversary in 2010. The ‘Thai International’ paint was used on THAI’s fleet back in 1960 when the airline was founded as a joint venture between the Royal Thai Government and SAS.

Fleet Development Plan

THAI’s fleet development plan for the next 10-15 years will cover the period of 2010-2024, in 3 phases:

During 2010-2014, the Company plans to phase-out 25 aging aircraft, take delivery of 9 Government-approved aircraft, and acquire 15 aircraft.

During 2015-2019, the Company plans to phase-out 32 aging aircraft and acquire new aircraft to replace those that have been phased-out, for future network growth at no less than 38 aircraft.

During 2020-2024, the Company plans to phase-out 20 aging aircraft and acquire new aircraft to replace those that have been phased-out, for future network growth at no less than 28 aircraft.

Aircraft Acquisition Plan for 2010-2014

THAI will phase-out the following aging aircraft: 6 Boeing 747-400 aircraft, 10 Airbus A300-600 aircraft, 4 Airbus A340-500 aircraft, 3 Boeing 737-400 aircraft, and 2 ATR-72 aircraft.

As for the delivery plan of 9 Government-approved aircraft, they consist of: 3 Airbus A330-300 aircraft and 6 Airbus A380-800 aircraft.

THAI will acquire 15 new aircraft that will be utilized as follows: 7 aircraft equipped with 300-seats on regional routes and 8 aircraft equipped with 350-seats on intercontinental flights.

These newly acquired aircraft will be serve the following intercontinental routes: Copenhagen, Stockholm, Los Angeles, and Oslo. On regional routes, aircraft will be utilized to: Perth, Dubai, Shanghai, Taipei, Mumbai (Bombay), Kolkata (Calcutta), and Bengaluru (Bangalore)..[15]

Thai hygiene excellence

The "Most Hygienic In-cabin Environment" programme was initiated for the safety and hygiene of Thai Airways International passengers and employees. The programme includes measures such as removal of all inflight disposable materials after flight, sterilization and fumigation of all cabin equipment and facilities and inspection of air-circulation system. The programme also concerns passenger food safety. The "Special Audit Process" is also carried out for the cleaning and sanitization of the overall system of its aircraft by specified specialists. These measures are applied to the entire Thai Airways International fleet.[16]

Thai Airways International is the first airlines to install hospital grade air-filter "True HEPA" capable of intercepting up to 99.999% of dust particles and micro organisms on every flight.[16]

The World Health Organization awarded Thai Airways International a plaque for the implementation of the in-cabin management system in 2004. It was the first award of its kind to be presented to private organization.[17][18]

Cabin services

Thai has four travel classes: Royal First, Royal Silk, Premium Economy and Economy.

Royal First Class

Thai First Class cabin on the Boeing 747-400

The new Royal First Class was introduced with the arrival of the Airbus A340-600. It offers 8 single flat-beds seats. Thai's retrofitted 12 Boeing 747-400s are also equipped with this B/E Aerospace seat which mostly serves Europe and some intra-Asian flights. The new seats are equipped with lumbar massage and personal 10.4" touch screen with AVOD and IFE system. Passenger on Royal First class can pick from 22 different meal choices, which they can pre-order before they fly.

On some long-haul routes such as Bangkok– Copenhagen, Bangkok– Stockholm,aircraft B747-400 Version B747 with previous generation Old First Class seats are used; therefore the seats are sold under Business Class fare.

Royal Silk Class (business)

The new Royal Silk Class was introduced with the arrival of Thai's Airbus A340-500 aircraft. The first series of shell, angled lie-flat business class seats were installed on 12 Boeing 747-400 aircraft, all Boeing 777-200 aircraft, and all Airbus A340 aircraft. A newer set of seats was then installed on all Boeing 777-300 aircraft, all Boeing 777-200ER aircraft, and select Airbus A330 aircraft (registrations HS-TEN and later). The pitch is 60"-62" between seats and the width is 20"-21.5". When fully reclined (electrically adjusted) the seat becomes completely flat, but angled. The seat can perform lumbar massage. All seats are equipped with a 10.4" or 15" (newer version) touch screen with AVOD and IFE.

Premium Economy Class

Thai Airways Economy Class meal

The new Premium Economy Class is only available on intercontinental flights between Bangkok and Los Angeles Bangkok and Athens (ResumesOslo 28 March instead Athens) on a Airbus A340-500 aircraft. The fare for Premium Economy Class is slightly higher than those of Economy. Premium Economy seating is configured as 2-3-2 rather than the standard 2-4-2 in Economy. Seat pitch is increased to 42", 135 degree angle of recline and the seat features a leg-rest. Premium Economy class passengers also have more choices over their meal selection. All seats of Premium Economy class are equipped with AVOD and IFE with a 9" touch screen.

On some long-haul routes such as Bangkok– Copenhagen and Bangkok– Stockholm Aircraft B747-400 version B747 (Old Version)with previous generation Old Business Class seats are used but not Royal Slik Class; therefore the seats are sold under Premium Economy Class fare.

Economy class

Thai Airways International offers one of the most generous pitch in the industry for its Economy class passengers. The seat pitch offers passengers up to 36" pitch in select aircraft as well as 34" on all other aircraft. Seat rows are configured in a 3-3-3 configuration in Boeing 777-200, 777-300 and 777-200ER aircraft, 2-4-2 in Airbus A340-500, A340-600, A330-300 and A300-600 aircraft, 3-4-3 in Boeing 747-400 aircraft and 3-3 in Boeing 737-400 aircraft. All Economy seats in Airbus A340-500, Airbus A340-600, Airbus A330-300 (HS-TEN, HS-TEO and HS-TEP), Boeing 777-200ER and Boeing 777-300 have individual Audio-Video On Demand (AVOD) 9" touch screens. Thai's newer A330-300 aircraft scheduled for delivery through 2010 also include AVOD in the Economy cabins.

Royal Orchid Plus

Royal First class lounge and check-in at Suvarnabhumi Airport.

Thai Airways International's Royal Orchid Plus is the airline's frequent flyer program. It has a membership of over two million members.

Earning miles

There are two types of mile which can be earned towards a Royal Orchid Plus account.

Firstly, Eligible Qualifying Miles (EQM) this type of mile is earned on:

  • Thai Airways flights
  • TG codeshare flights on routes departing from/to Bangkok (Malaysian Airlines, Emirates Airlines, El Al Israel Airlines and China Eastern Airlines)
  • Star Alliance flights
  • Jet Airways flights

Qualifying Miles (Q Miles) are the miles flown and additional class of service miles on Thai and Star Alliance airlines. Royal Orchid Plus miles are earned based on the paid class of travel.

Thai Airways Boeing 747-400 in 1974-2005 livery, taking off

Secondly, Partner Miles are earned from non-airline partners, such as hotels.

Status Tiers

There are three tiers in the Royal Orchid Plus program

  • Member– entry-level status
  • Silver– requires 10,000 Q Miles in one calendar year or 15,000 Q Miles from the date of enrolment up to 31 December of the next complete calendar year
  • Gold– requires 50,000 Q Miles in one calendar year, 80,000 Q Miles from the date of enrolment up to 31 December of the next complete calendar year, or 40 international flown sectors on Thai within any 1 calendar year.

Codeshare agreements

Check-in desks in Suvarnabhumi Airport Bangkok

Thai Airways International codeshares with the following airlines:

(*A) = Star Alliance Member

Incidents and accidents

  • 27 April 1980 Flight 231, an Hawker Siddeley HS 748 crashed after entering a severe thunderstorm on approach to Khon Kaen Airport. 44 of the fifty three people on board were killed.[19]
  • 31 July 1992 – Flight 311, an Airbus A310-304 hit the side of a hill 23 miles north of Kathmandu while descending towards Tribhuvan International Airport from Bangkok. All 113 on board (99 passengers and 14 crew) died. The accident was caused by technical faults (with flaps and a possible second unknown fault), pilot error and lack of equipment at TIA at the time (no radar).[20]
  • 11 December 1998 – Flight 261, an A310-200, bound for Surat Thani from Bangkok, during its third landing attempt in heavy rain, crashed into a rice paddy about 2 miles from Surat Thani airport; 102 of 143 aboard were killed.[21]
  • 3 March 2001 – Flight 114, a Boeing 737-400, bound for Chiang Mai from Bangkok, was destroyed by an explosion of the center wing tank resulting from ignition of the flammable fuel/air mixture in the tank while the aircraft was parked, pre-boarding, on the ground. The source of the ignition energy for the explosion could not be determined with certainty, but the most likely source was an explosion originating at the center wing tank pump as a result of running the pump in the presence of metal shavings and a fuel/air mixture.[22]
  • 15 July 2006 - The winglet of a Thai Airways International Boeing 747-400 HS-TGY operating flight TG943 from Madrid Barajas Airport in Spain to Rome Fiumicino Airport cut off the tail of an Air France ERJ-145 while taxing to the runway for take-off. No injuries were reported.
  • 8 Janualy 2009 - Thai Airways International Boeing 737-400 Window Crack on Cockpick operating TG 030 from Bangkok Suvarnabhumi Airport to Ubon Ratchathani Airport after take-off from Suvarnabhumi Airport. The plane made an emergency landing at Ubon Ratchathani Airport. No injuried were reported.
  • 3 February 2010 - One of the engines of a Thai Airways International Boeing 747-400 HS-TGB operating TG 116 from Bangkok Suvarnabhumi Airport to Chiang Mai International Airport caught on fire 10 minutes after take-off from Suvarnabhumi Airport. The plane made an emergency landing. No injuried were reported.
  • 7 February 2010 - Thai Airways International Boeing 747-400 operating TG 641 From Tokyo to Bangkok oil leak at Narita International Airport.No injuried were reported

See also


  1. ^
  2. ^ "Major Shareholders". Stock Exchange of Thailand. 10 January 2007. Retrieved 2007-08-16. 
  3. ^ "Details of Shareholders and Board of Directors." Thai Airways International. Retrieved on 4 March 2010.
  4. ^ "Addresses and contact numbers." Thai Airways International. Retrieved on 21 February 2009.
  5. ^ AIRLINES wins Airline of the Year title in the 2007 World Airline Awards which were unveiled today by Skytrax
  6. ^
  7. ^ Thai Airways International Public Information
  8. ^ Airlines Curb Long Flights to save on Fuel, Wall Street Journal, July 8, 2008, pp. B1-B2
  9. ^
  10. ^
  11. ^
  12. ^ Thai Airways International Website March 2010]
  13. ^ Airfleets information for Thai Airways
  14. ^
  15. ^ [1]
  16. ^ a b Travel Hygiene
  19. ^ "ASN Aircraft accident Hawker Siddeley HS-748-207 Srs. 2 HS-THB Bangkok." Aviation Safety Network. Retrieved on 1 March 2010.
  20. ^ [2], [3]
  21. ^ Asia Economic News 14 December 1998
  22. ^ "ASN Aircraft accident Boeing 737-4D7 HS-TDC Bangkok International Airport (BKK)." Aviation Safety Network. Retrieved on 14 June 2009.

External links

Simple English

Thai Airways International (การบินไทย) is the national airline of Thailand.

Its head-quarter is: 89 Vibhavadi Rangsit Road, Chatuchak, Bangkok 10900. Currently it has 89 aircraft.


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