King's new aircraft arrives, with 'Air Force One' in reserve
The "Air Force One" that served then prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra is now a spare aircraft for His Majesty the King.
His Majesty's new personal aircraft is a Boeing 737-800, which left Seattle, Washington, on Sunday and landed at 11.30am yesterday, after making refuelling stops in Hawaii and Saipan.
"Air Force One", an Airbus ACJ319, carries the official name "Thai Khu Fa", from the building inside the Government House compound. The name will be removed and replaced by "Royal Thai Air Force". The plane will also be repainted in traditional livery, white on the fuselage with light and dark blue stripes from nose to tail.
A Boeing 737-400, which currently serves as the King's aircraft, will be decommissioned in three years after 13 years in operation, Air Force spokesman Group Captain Monthol Satchukorn said.
The Air Force has another Airbus, a 319-300 model, to use as His Majesty's spare plane. Both Airbuses are available for members of the immediate royal family.
The Boeing 737-800 was produced exclusively by the American manufacturer to honour His Majesty's 60th year on the throne.
Boeing was chosen as the supplier because Air Force pilots and maintenance crews are thoroughly familiar with Boeing airliners.
The new 737-800's passenger cabin will be decorated by artists from the Fine Arts Department and fitted with emergency medical equipment and a noise-reduction system.