Thai Airways operated a small fleet of Airbus A340s into the mid-2010s. These aircraft came from two different variants of the European manufacturing juggernaut’s single-decker four-engine family, namely the -500 and the -600. Let’s take a closer look at Thai Airways’ relationship with its A340s, and what happened to them after leaving the carrier.
According to data from ch-aviation.com, Thai Airways has operated a total of 10 Airbus A340 family aircraft over the years. Of these, four were examples of the A340-500 variant. At the time of its introduction in the early 2000s, the A340-500 had the longest range of any airliner than the world. It was slightly longer and wider than previous A340 variants.
It didn’t take long for Thai Airways to join the party when it came to the A340-500. The Bangkok-based national airline received its first example of this long-range quadjet, registered as HS-TLA, in April 2005. HS-TLB followed later that month, along with HS-TLC in October 2005. HS-TLD was the fourth and final arrival, joining the fleet in April 2007.
Despite the aircraft’s promise in terms of its long-range capabilities, the A340-500 served Thai Airways for less than a decade. The first three examples left the airline in June 2012, with HS-TLD clinging on for another 18 months until its departure in December 2013.
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Thai Airways’ remaining six A340s were examples of the stretched-fuselage -600 variant. This lengthy aircraft measured 75.36 meters long, outranking the -500 by nearly 7.5 meters! Much like the -500, Thai Airways’ first A340-600s also joined the airline in 2005.
HS-TNA was the first, in June that year, with four more having arrived before 2005 was over. Once again, there was a brief hiatus before the final arrival, HS-TNF, joined the fleet. In this instance, the aircraft came onboard three years later, in October 2008.
Thai Airways’ A340-600s lasted somewhat longer than their -500 counterparts. All of them left the airline in 2015, with five doing so on the same day (April 1st). According to FlightGlobal, the last flights they operated served Frankfurt, Singapore, and Zürich. The first -600 to leave the Thai Airways fleet was HS-TNE, which did so a little early on January 7th.
Where are they now?
Almost all of Thai Airways’ former A340s are now in storage. This is despite the fact that 2019 saw rumors surface that suggested that the airline might bring them back into service. Three of the four A340-500s are presently stored at Bangkok Don Mueang International (DMK), while all six A360-600s are sitting dormant at U-Tapao International Airport (UTP).
As it stands, the only Thai Airways A340 to have been given a second lease of life is HS-TLC. This A340-500 joined the Royal Thai Air Force in August 2016, where it has been re-registered as HS-TYV. Data from RadarBox.com shows that this aircraft’s last long-haul mission took it from Bangkok to Munich, Germany and back at the start of the month.
What are your memories of Thai Airways’ Airbus A340s? Did you ever fly on one of these purple-tailed quadjets? Let us know your thoughts and experiences in the comments!