This article is about Thai Airways International. For the defunct domestic airline, see Thai Forex bangkok Company.
84 destinations in 37 countries, using a fleet of over 90 aircraft. The purpose of the joint venture was to create an international wing for the domestic carrier Thai Airways Company. SAS also provided operational, managerial, and marketing expertise, with training assistance aimed at building a fully independent national airline within the shortest possible time. The airline’s first intercontinental services using Douglas DC-8s started in 1971 to Australia, and then to Europe the following year.
A number of the larger Douglas DC-10 wide-body tri-jet was acquired in the later 1970s. Services to North America commenced in 1980. On 1 April 1977, after 17 years of capital participation by SAS, the Thai government bought out the remaining 15 percent of SAS-owned shares and THAI became an airline owned by the Thai government. In 2016, the company is 51 percent owned by the Thai Ministry of Finance. On 1 April 1988, then-Prime Minister Gen. Prem Tinsulanonda, in seeking to have a single national carrier, merged the international and domestic operations of the two companies to form the present company, Thai Airways International.
In 1997 Thai Airways planned a privatization program, the first in Thai history. On 14 May 1997, THAI, along with Lufthansa, Air Canada, SAS, and United Airlines, founded the world’s first and largest airline alliance, Star Alliance. Using the Airbus A340-500s it acquired in 2005, THAI commenced non-stop flights from Bangkok to New York, its first non-stop services to North America. The airline later converted existing one-stop services to Los Angeles into non-stop services using the same aircraft type.
Citing very high fuel costs, THAI discontinued the New York service in July 2008, even though the airline had been able to fill 80 percent of the seats. In 2006, THAI moved its hub operations to the new Bangkok Suvarnabhumi Airport. Coinciding with the arrival of new aircraft during the mid-2000s, as well as its new hub airport in Bangkok, the airline launched a brand renewal by introducing a new aircraft livery, new aircraft seating, and revamped ground and air services. THAI expanding its route network beyond its Bangkok hub. During the late-2000s, THAI’s aggressive growth was hampered by a combination of internal and external factors, including a spike in fuel prices, domestic political conflict in Thailand, and the global economic crisis of the late-2000s.