During the 1950s and 60s it was fairly standard for European flag carriers to act as consultants to developing nations nascent airlines especially if there was a colonial legacy. One of the most impressive relationships however was between Scandinavian Airlines and Thailand.
Thai Airways International started operations in 1960 as a joint venture between SAS and the Thai government to create an international airline for the nation.
Thailand had had a domestic airline of its own since 1947 which became Thai Airways in 1951 and would eventually be merged into its larger international sister in 1988. The new national airline used an initial livery cleverly modified from SAS's own scheme turning SAS's Viking longboat into the Royal Barge.
Initial operations (to nine Asian destinations) were with SAS DC-6s however in mid 1962 a single CV-990 was leased from SAS and became ‘Srisuriyothai’. SAS was one of the original customers for the troubled CV-990 however they were forced to cancel their orders due to financial difficulties as opposed to performance issues. Instead they leased a pair of CV-990s from Swissair direct from the production line for operation on the Copenhagen-Tokyo route.
SE-DAZ ‘Ring Viking’ was originally delivered on 10th April 1962. Sent out on lease to Thai, as HS-TGE, for her first year and a half of service she returned to SAS and stayed with them until May 27th 1966. DAZ became HB-ICH with Swissair and was sold onto Spantax as EC-CNH on 31st may 1975. Withdrawn from use in September 1983 she was eventually broken up in 1994.
SAS and Thai’s long-haul fleet requirements would be met by DC-8s rather than CV-990s. Intercontinental services for Thai didn't begin until 1971 (Australia) and 1972 (Europe). These were operated by 5 ex-SAS and 2 ex-Swissair DC-8-33s. The series 30s were later joined in 1974 by 3 ex-SAS DC-8-63s and subsequently DC-8-62s from 1979 also. It wasn't until 1977 that the Thai government bought out SAS's shareholding in full.
Other aircraft leased in from SAS included 6 Caravelle IIIs (1963-1970), 2 DC-9-41s (1970-1972).
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I'm Richard Stretton: a fan of classic airliners and airlines who enjoys exploring their history through my collection of die-cast airliners. If you enjoy the site please donate whatever you can to help keep it running: