The evolution of Thai Airways International Public Company
Limited from a small domestic operation to a fully-fledged
global airline is the direct outcome of the far-sighted vision
of our founders. Early on, we embarked on a course of building
a reputation as a regional leader, pioneering routes to unusual
destinations. We further strengthened our reach by forming
strategic alliances with major airlines, becoming a key partner
in a routenet that now covers the globe.
popularity among travellers comes from our comprehensive services
and efficient, on-time operation. More than that, however,
we are known for our gracious ground and inflight service.
This includes personal attention to passenger needs, with
special treats (like gift orchids for all female passengers),
and superb cuisine which have earned us a place in the hearts
of the travelling public.
Few passengers are aware of the numerous behind-the-scenes
activities that make THAI a self-sufficient airline. We operate
our own Catering Department, Maintenance Department, and Cargo
Department that serve, not only THAI's needs, but those of
numerous airlines operating into Bangkok. Many ancillary functions
are devoted to enhancing the pleasure of travel by providing
our customers with Limousine Services, Royal Orchid Holidays,
our Royal Orchid Plus frequent flyer programme, hotel accommodations,
convention facilities, and attractive incentive programmes.
All these and more enable THAI to respond quickly and comprehensively
to customers' requirements and passenger needs, qualities
that have made us one of Asia's premier airlines.
How We Came to Be
began its life as a domestic airline called Thai Airways Company
(TAC). TAC was formed in 1951 when the Thai government purchased
shares in three small private airlines and amalgamated their
fleets in order to create a national airline. Rapid growth
followed with air service reaching into formerly-remote provinces
Firmly established as a domestic airline, we then decided
to try our wings in a wider realm by launching several experimental
flights to cities within the region. In 1960, we formed an
alliance with Scandinavian Airlines System, and Thai Airways
International was born. TAC remained a separate company and
continued to provide service to cities within Thailand.
For the first six years, THAI served 10 regional destinations
with propeller-driven aircraft but in 1966, we scored an Asian
first by offering the region's first all-jet service. With
our fleet of modern aircraft, we pioneered new routes, offering
the first jet service to Bali (December 1967) and Kathmandu
(December 1968). By 1970, we were carrying a half million
passengers each year and were ranked as Asia's third largest
airline. It was time to stretch our wings even wider.
We did so in April 1971 when a THAI airliner touched down
in Sydney on our first intercontinental flight. The following
year we opened European service with flights to Copenhagen.
Other cities followed quickly as we expanded from our homebase,
Bangkok. To accomodate an increasing demand, we began flying
Airbus A300s in October 1977 and in October 1979, took delivery
of our first Boeing 747s.
In 1980, we began flying trans-Pacific routes to North American
cities. The decade also saw the expansion of ancillary facilities
to provide broader-based service to our passengers and customers.
In April 1983, we launched a joint venture to operate hotels
in Bangkok, and in May 1985, we completed our new Aircraft
Maintenance Centre. In May of the following year, we inaugurated
our new Cargo Village and in December 1987, we opened our
new corporate headquarters in Bangkok. Perhaps the most dramatic
change was the merger between Thai Airways International and
Thai Airways Company to bring international and domestic services
under a single umbrella.
The 1990s have seen further expansion of our routenet and
frequency of service but have also witnessed some fundamental
changes to prepare us for the future. The Cargo Village, Maintenance
Centre, and Flight Kitchen were expanded. In July 1993, we
inaugurated our Royal Orchid Plus frequent flyer programme
which enjoyed almost instant success. Perhaps the most far-reaching
decision came in 1995 when we joined with Lufthansa and United
Airlines to form a Global Alliance that will strengthen all
three airlines. The same year, saw the introduction of the
THAI Phone and in March 1996, we took delivery of our first
Boeing 777, as a first step in modernising our fleet to ensure
that we remain a leader as we progress towards the 21st century.
In the coming years will see THAI will acquire a new look
which we will proundly carry into the 21st century.