Thailand to spend 8.8 billion baht on new aircraft for VIP travel
The Cabinet has approved an 8.78-billion-baht budget to procure new aircraft for VIPs including royals, privy counsellors, prime ministers, ministers and royal guests.
Proposed by the Prime Minister’s Secretariat and approved on Tuesday, the plan includes procurement of new aircraft and components, and training of personnel.
The budget will be spent over four years from fiscal year 2024 – 1.75 billion baht in 2024, 2.19 billion baht in 2025, 2.20 billion baht in 2026 and 2.63 billion baht in 2027.
The proposal said the Royal Thai Air Force (RTAF) needs to replace the old Airbus A340-500 procured from Thai Airways International (THAI) for VIP travel.
"The airbus, which THAI used between 2005 and 2012, was commissioned in 2015," the proposal said, adding that maintenance costs for the aircraft had risen after Airbus suspended production in 2012.
The Airbus is currently used to transport VIPs but also for humanitarian missions aiding victims of natural disasters and evacuation of Thai nationals abroad.
"The RTAF has prepared an operation plan, budget expenditure, corruption risk assessment and list of procurement needs," the proposal added.