Thai Airways - Sydney 45th Anniversary

By Grahame Hutchison on Friday, 1st April 2016

Thai Airways today celebrated the 45th Anniversary of services from Bangkok to Sydney International Airport, with their first service being operated in 1971 by a Douglas DC-8. The airline's livery back then was the same as the current HS-TGP Retro Boeing B747-400, and the Bangkok to Sydney service was via Singapore.

Formed in 1960 from a joint venture by Scandinavian Airlines (SAS) and the domestic Thai Airways Company, the aim was to create an international arm for the domestic carrier. In the early years  SAS provided much of the experttise to run the airline, however gradually Thai Nationals assumed control of all aspects of the new business. The Bangkok to Sydney service was to be the airlines first intercontinental route, and was launched in 1971 using the Douglas DC-8 leased from SAS. Services to Europe started the following year, and with the acquisition of Douglas DC-10 aircraft in the late 1970s, services to North America began.


Thai Airways Douglas DC-10 HS-TGQ landing on Sydney's Runway 16 in July 1981

Thai also added the Boeing B747-200 to their fleet, starting several decades of service to Sydney by this aircraft type. Although several other aircraft types have been used on this route, Thai are still currently operating the Boeing B747-400 version of the aircraft, in this the start of their 46th year of operations to Sydney.


Thai Boeing B747-200 HS-TGA landing on Sydney's Runway 25 in November 1982

Thai Boeing B747-200 HS-TGC is seen here departing Sydney Runway 16, while Concorde is holding short on Taxiway Foxtrot


When the Boeing B747-400 model became available in 1989, Thai purchased this much improved type, and began operations to Sydney.


Thai Boeing B747-400 HS-TGD climbing out from Sydney Runway 34L in November 2002

Thai Boeing B747-400 HS-TGL climbing out from Sydney Runway 34L in November 2005

In 2005 Thai added the Airbus A340-500 and A340-600 to their fleet, and commenced a non-stop service from Bangkok to New York, and later to Los Angeles. As with other airlines, high world fuel prices saw this very long non-stop service to New York end in July 2008, and the Los Angeles service reverted to one stop via Seoul in May 2012. Thai also operated the Airbus A340 on the Bangkok to Sydney route.

Thai Airbus A340-600 HS-TND


When Thai added the Boeing B777-200ER to their fleet, they were also to be used on the Bangkok to Sydney route


Thai Boeing B777-200ER HS-TJT on Taxiway Alpha for a Runway 34L departure in May 2009

Thai Boeing B777-200ER HS-TJR climbing out from Runway 34L in December 2007


Throughout the past 45 years, memorable Special Thai Liveries include "Retro Thai International", "Amazing Thailand Royal Barge", "Star Alliance", "The Kings 72nd Celebration", "Apec Thailand 2003" & "Apec Royal Barge".


Thai Boeing B747-400 HS-TGP "Thai International Retro" livery in August 2013

Thai Boeing B747-400 HS-TGJ "Amazing Thailand Royal Barge" livery in December 2002

Thai Boeing B747-400 HS-TGW "Star Alliance" livery in April 2005

Thai Boeing B747-400 HS-TGZ "The King's 72nd Celebration" livery in October 2002

Thai Boeing B747-400 HS-TGJ "APEC Royal Barge" livery in January 2004

Thai Boeing B747-400 HS-TGH "APEC Royal Barge" livery in February 2005

Thai Boeing B747-400 HS-TGO "APEC Royal Barge" livery in November 2003

The Thai Airways Boeing B747-400 HS-TGW  "Star Alliance" livery with the iconic Sydney ATC Tower in the background in April 2005

Boeing B747-400 HS-TGZ took the honours to operate this historic 45th Anniversary service from Bangkok to Sydney this morning

Passengers for Thai Airways B744 VH-TGZ return service to Bangkok this morning, were greeted with Thai Airways coloured balloons, flowers, and Check-In monitors recognizing the 45 Years of operation at Sydney Airport.




Thai Airways

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