New Presidential Plane Approved by Thailand Government

The Thailand government has approved a new presidential plane for the Thai Royal Family.

The new $276 million plane will be used to transport members of the royal family, cabinet ministers, members of the privy council, and guests of the Thai government.

Presidential plane expected by 2026

The aircraft is not expected anytime soon as we have no further details on what type of aircraft the replacement will be.

The presidential plane is scheduled to be delivered by 2026 and operated by the 602 Squadron/Royal Flight Wihok, based at Bangkok’s Don Mueang International Airport.

The 602 Squadron is no stranger to VIP aircraft as it currently operates an Airbus A319, two Airbus A320s, four Boeing 737s, and three Sukhoi SSJ100-95LR Superjets. The Royal Thai Air Force, which operates the aircraft, has a detailed operational plan which includes a budget estimate, corruption risk assessment, and a list of procurement needs.

presidential plane
The current presidential plane © Wikimedia Commons

The current Airbus A340-500

The current presidential plane is the Airbus A340-500 which has been in operational use since 2005 and is named Phitsanulok after a historic city in Lower Northern Thailand.

Thai Airways International initially owned the plane until 2012 and was put into storage for a few years until the Royal Thai Air Force acquired it in 2016.

The aircraft has been primarily used for VIP travel, government business, reparation flights, and humanitarian missions worldwide.

Most recently, the aircraft was spotted at the Bangkok Don Mueang International Airport and Chiang Mai.

The Airbus made history by flying what might be the longest-ever flight by the aircraft. In November 2022, the Airbus 340 flew from Bangkok’s Don Mueang International Airport to Charlotte Douglas Airport in North Carolina. The flight took 18 hours and 14 minutes and covered 7,859 miles.

About Thai Airways International

presidential plane
Thai Airways International Boeing 777 aircraft © Clay Lucy

Thai Airways International, which initially owned the Airbus 340-500, was founded in 1960 as a joint venture between Thailand’s domestic carrier, Thai Airways Company (TAC), and Scandinavian Airlines System (SAS)

The first flight took place in 1960 from Bangkok International Airport to Hong Kong. During the 1960s, flights took place to nine overseas destinations, all within the Asian region.

In the 1970s, they expanded their network and launched flights to Australia and Europe. Thai Airways International was the first Asia-Pacific airline to serve Heathrow Airport.

The airline now serves 40 international destinations using a fleet of 46 aircraft ranging from Boeing to Airbus.

As the national airline of Thailand, the Company’s motto is “the first choice carrier with touches of Thai.”

The airline has won numerous awards over the years. In 2013 the airline won Best Intercontinental Airline in the Norwegian Grand Travel Award. The airline is also known for its catering services which offer traditional Thai food and won the Best Caterer award in 2008 from China Airlines.

Environmental policy

The airline is also a leader in environmental conservation. The company has continued to ensure that overall business operations and processes produce minimum environmental impact. To achieve this, the airline has established five environmental policies: 

1. To develop environmental management systems to meet international standards to ensure that all activities and operations are following the standard and related environmental rules and regulations. 

2. To develop and promote environmental management systems to be applied to all the Company’s activities to reduce pollution and environmental impact continually, with clear objectives, action plans, and evaluation procedures

3. To incorporate environmental impact considerations in every process of all the Company’s activities and operations, starting from design, purchasing, production, and service delivery. Resources should be used effectively to provide the highest benefit for the Company and society.

4. To increase environmental awareness among employees through training programs to ensure that the Company’s environmental systems are effectively implemented.

5. To provide support towards environmental protection programs, including giving accurate news and information to staff, customers, and the public and private sector to enhance a better understanding of the Company’s efforts towards environmental preservation and conservation. 

What do you think of Thailand’s new presidential plane? Let us know in the comments below.

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Gabriella Van Jennians
Gabriella Van Jennians
Gabriella is an aspiring Journalist from the UK. She holds a BA Journalism degree from the University of Lincoln, where she has learnt various writing and production skills to help her break into the industry. Gabriella joined Travel Radar in 2022 and hopes to learn and gain experience writing for the aviation sector.