New VIP aircraft

3 12 2020

Numerous industry reports have the latest VIP aircraft for the Royal Thai Air Force recently arriving in Bangkok.

The Aeronews Facebook page on 27 November reported “THE LAST Airbus #A320ceo built in Toulouse, HS-TYW.” It includes the following photo:

Clipped from Facebook. Photo attributed to Dirk Grothe

Another site has it as an A320-214SL. The Airbus page on this aircraft type is here. The oddity in this is the use of old technology engines:

In December 2010, Airbus announced the re-engined A320neo (new engine option), which entered service with Lufthansa in January 2016. With more efficient turbofans and improvements including sharklets, it offers up to 15% better fuel economy. Earlier A320s are now called A320ceo (current engine option).

We note the photo includes sharklets, so assume that the RTAF ordered a new aircraft with old technology engines.

The aircraft underwent VIP conversion at Lufthansa Technik. We don’t know what the fit-out is for this VIP aircraft, but Airbus provides this video of its general approach to VIP aircraft for corporate customers:

To add to the splendor that must attract generals, admirals, air marshals, and royals, Lufthansa Technik provides another corporate video:

The aircraft’s registration details are here. It arrived in Bangkok-Don Mueang late evening on 27 November 2020.

It joins a fleet of VIP/transport aircraft: two Boeing 737, three Airbus 319/320/340, three ATR 72, 3 Sukhoi Superjet 100, one Super King Air, and four Saab 340.

The cost of the new aircraft is probably US$100 million, with the further expense of VIP fit-out. We recall that this aircraft was in the 2018 budget. This year the RTAF also wanted several other VIP aircraft: “the RTAF hopes to obtain a new VVIP aircraft to transport the country’s royal family, as well as a replacement for a VIP configured ACJ319, and a three new VVIP helicopters.” We also recall that the Army has its own desire for a VIP aircraft.

It’s a great life for some.



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