VIP plane purchase has cabinet nod

VIP plane purchase has cabinet nod

File photo: Somchai Poomlard
File photo: Somchai Poomlard

The government has approved a spending programme to procure a new aircraft to transport VIPs under a budget of 8.7 billion baht spread over four years.

The scheme, with a tied-over budget from 2024-2027, was proposed by the Prime Minister's Secretariat Office to replace the current ageing Airbus 340.

The Airbus 340 is used to transport VIPs, including members of the royal family, members of the privy council, the prime minister and guests of the Thai government.

It is a second-hand plane that was purchased from Thai Airways International, commissioned into service in 2015 and maintained by the air force.

The jet is also used in non-combat military missions such as repatriations and the delivery of humanitarian aid.

The cost would be broken down into 1.75 billion baht in the first year, 2.19 billion baht for the second year, 2.2 billion baht for the third and 2.63 billion baht for the final year.

According to a source, the ageing plane is scheduled for an airworthiness assessment in 2026, but since manufacturing of the Airbus A340-500 was discontinued in 2012, maintenance and repair costs have increased.

The proposal was approved by the cabinet on Tuesday.

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