Thai Airways has retired its last A300-600R, bringing an end to a 37-year era of continuous operations. After a farewell ceremony at Suvarnabhumi, the last flight took off to the industrial hub of Khon Kaen.
A fitting sending off
THAI took delivery of its first A300-B4 as early as 1977, and has employed the type on mostly regional routes throughout the years. The Bangkok-based carrier received its last A300, the A300-600R variant, in 1998.
Seats on the A300
The retirement of the A300 follows a worldwide trend that has seen basically all major carriers remove the model from their fleets as greener alternatives started to look better on operators’ balance sheets.
A300 – The Legend of the Sky
THAI, however, remained faithful to the A300 over the years and was going to continue flying the type well into 2015 but then changed direction when a board meeting two weeks ago signed off on a major restructuring plan that, it appears, included the A300’s immediate retirement.
A moment to remember
Timetables on THAI’s website still indicate A300 operations on major trunk routes throughout April 2015. But, as the aircraft has been officially phased out now, this will surely be altered soon and flights likely substituted by A330 aircraft.
The end of an era
THAI has been hit hard by the on-going political unrest in the country and dropping tourist arrival numbers as a result. The carrier has been posting consecutive losses, seen a number of board members resign and reported extremely low load factors in the previous quarter.
For more information, visit thaiairways.com
Dominic Sebastian Lalk