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LAXintl
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Thailand: Corruption in Thai A340 aircraft deal

Wed Aug 26, 2020 11:07 pm

Employees of Thai Airways International (THAI) became unusually rich from a major plane procurement deal struck in 2003-2004, according to a police-led investigation team set up by the Transport Ministry.

Deputy Transport Minister Thaworn said the probe team discovered unnamed employed enjoyed illicit gains between 2003 and 2004 as a result of THAI purchase of 10 Airbus A340 wide-bodied aircraft The planes were to be used on direct flights linking Bangkok with New York and Los Angeles.

The direct flights to the US went ahead despite the Office of the National Economic and Social Development Council objecting to THAI acquiring those types of planes. The agency questioned the feasibility of operating the fuel-guzzler planes profitably. Two years after the Bangkok-US services were launched, the airline recorded losses of 12 billion baht. The losses widened to 39 billion baht after the same aircraft were flown on other routes.


Probe 'points to graft' in THAI A340 aircraft deal
https://www.bangkokpost.com/business/19 ... craft-deal

Probe in Thailand Uncovers Graft in Thai Airways Airbus A340 Deal
https://www.chiangraitimes.com/thailand ... a340-deal/

=

These A340-500/600 aircraft had very short lives at TG having all been parked since 2012-2015.
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Wingtips56
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Re: Police: Corruption in Thai A340 aircraft deal

Wed Aug 26, 2020 11:17 pm

They are just now looking into this? Seems a bit late.
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KFTG
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Re: Police: Corruption in Thai A340 aircraft deal

Wed Aug 26, 2020 11:22 pm

There are three A345 on Google Maps at DMK. Are they seriously still there? What is Thai waiting for to send these jets to the scrapper?
 
Antarius
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Re: Police: Corruption in Thai A340 aircraft deal

Wed Aug 26, 2020 11:25 pm

Wingtips56 wrote:
They are just now looking into this? Seems a bit late.


When the order was placed, there were only 2 possible options - corruption or extreme stupidity. I guess it took 15 years for the allure of chalking it up to stupidity to wear off.
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SheikhDjibouti
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Re: Police: Corruption in Thai A340 aircraft deal

Thu Aug 27, 2020 12:28 am

LAXintl wrote:
The direct flights to the US went ahead despite the Office of the National Economic and Social Development Council objecting to THAI acquiring those types of planes.
The agency questioned the feasibility of operating the fuel-guzzler planes profitably. Two years after the Bangkok-US services were launched, the airline recorded losses of 12 billion baht. The losses widened to 39 billion baht after the same aircraft were flown on other routes.
Whilst I don't doubt there has been corruption, I suspect a teensy-weensy bit of BIAS in your analysis there.

The first clue was your use of the phrase "fuel-guzzler".
Was Thai the only airline to employ this type? Er, no!
It would appear that other airlines (some of them well respected) made exactly the same choice. This suggests that the A340 had a potentially profitable role to play at that time. Either that or Airbus built it for LOLs?

Whether Thai used them profitably is another matter.
Maybe their "crime" was to try and create demand on long-thin routes more suited to a 787. Except the 787 wouldn't be available for another decade.

The second clue was linking the annual losses specifically to this aircraft type.
I cannot speak for 2005, but currently Thai operate 75 a/c, all of them broadly comparable to the ten (10) A340s. i.e. none of them are small regional jets, or even close.

So, how sure are you that this fleet of just ten A340s is the main or sole reason for Thai's losses in those years? Is that stated anywhere, or do you have good reason to believe the other 60 a/c in their fleet were all money-makers, including the other 4-engine design they flew (747-400)?

With hindsight (in 2020), all of us can see that two engines are better than four, but was that also the case in 2003?
Were two-engine designs as capable then? Were they available at the same price, and was there a waiting list?
When all factors are considered, did Thai really make such a bad choice?

If you truly believe that, Iberia, Lufthansa, Qatar, Etihad, Virgin Atlantic and others would like to have a word.
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mercure1
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Re: Police: Corruption in Thai A340 aircraft deal

Thu Aug 27, 2020 12:34 am

As typical TG buys one of everything.
The airline already had experience with MD-11 and had 777 in fleet at the time also. The A340 was hardly needed for costly US adventure which as articles mention were colossal money losers.


SheikhDjibouti wrote:
I suspect a teensy-weensy bit of BIAS in your analysis there.

The first clue was your use of the phrase "fuel-guzzler".


You should read the linked articles. OP posted a quote from them including the fuel guzzler reference.
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SheikhDjibouti
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Re: Police: Corruption in Thai A340 aircraft deal

Thu Aug 27, 2020 1:11 am

mercure1 wrote:
You should read the linked articles. OP posted a quote from them including the fuel guzzler reference.

Guilty as charged! :lol:
I didn't realize they were direct quotes.

However, the OP selected those quotes for a reason, and obviously saw nothing wrong with the bias / sloppy journalism / hindsight.

Since the OP didn't comment on those aspects, I thought a few words from myself would balance the books.

(and tbh I'm still trying to make sense of the thread title "Police: Corruption..."?)
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Antarius
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Re: Police: Corruption in Thai A340 aircraft deal

Thu Aug 27, 2020 1:25 am

SheikhDjibouti wrote:
When all factors are considered, did Thai really make such a bad choice?

If you truly believe that, Iberia, Lufthansa, Qatar, Etihad, Virgin Atlantic and others would like to have a word.


Yes. Most are dumping their 345/6 fleet or has already. Not great for a 15 year old aircraft.

IMO, the only bias here is trying to defend a poor selling and generally unwanted derivative.

The 345 did not make any sense for TG ever. Launching flights to the US from BKK did not make sense, ever.
Last edited by Antarius on Thu Aug 27, 2020 1:29 am, edited 1 time in total.
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ScottB
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Re: Police: Corruption in Thai A340 aircraft deal

Thu Aug 27, 2020 1:28 am

SheikhDjibouti wrote:
Whilst I don't doubt there has been corruption, I suspect a teensy-weensy bit of BIAS in your analysis there.


I suspect a teensy-weensy bit of BIAS in your kneejerk reply to the OP there.

Did you actually read the source linked in the OP? The Bangkok Post article is the source of the characterization of the A340 as being "fuel-guzzler planes." Actually, it wouldn't entirely surprise me if the article in turn had taken that description from the police investigation's report. And again, the newspaper piece draws the connection between the A340s and the growth in TG's annual losses; this is not a conclusion drawn independently by the OP.

SheikhDjibouti wrote:
With hindsight (in 2020), all of us can see that two engines are better than four, but was that also the case in 2003?
Were two-engine designs as capable then? Were they available at the same price, and was there a waiting list?
When all factors are considered, did Thai really make such a bad choice?


Yes, it was, even in 2003. Airbus introduced its "4 engines 4 long haul" in 2002 precisely because airline customers were finding the 777 to be more capable and efficient than the A340. So instead they went with a scare tactic intended to quietly imply that twin engine aircraft just weren't as safe as quads. Never mind that ETOPS (now EDTO) regulations required safety features beyond just making independent engine failures extremely unlikely statistically; they also required enhanced fire suppression.

I can't speak to pricing, but the whole point of the referenced report was that price apparently wasn't the crux of the matter; graft was.
 
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TheFlyingDisk
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Re: Police: Corruption in Thai A340 aircraft deal

Thu Aug 27, 2020 1:44 am

Wingtips56 wrote:
They are just now looking into this? Seems a bit late.


Could be that this had something to do with the anti-corruption settlement deal made by Airbus earlier this year.
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SheikhDjibouti
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Re: Police: Corruption in Thai A340 aircraft deal

Thu Aug 27, 2020 2:21 am

ScottB wrote:
SheikhDjibouti wrote:
Whilst I don't doubt there has been corruption, I suspect a teensy-weensy bit of BIAS in your analysis there.

I suspect a teensy-weensy bit of BIAS in your kneejerk reply to the OP there.
Kneejerk? Et tu Brute? :lol:

Did you actually read the source linked in the OP? The Bangkok Post article is the source of the characterization of the A340 as being "fuel-guzzler planes." Actually, it wouldn't entirely surprise me if the article in turn had taken that description from the police investigation's report. And again, the newspaper piece draws the connection between the A340s and the growth in TG's annual losses; this is not a conclusion drawn independently by the OP.
Got that, loud and clear. The Bangkok Post. My favorite publication for aviation matters. :shakehead:

But just in case you missed these words from me.
SheikhDjibouti wrote:
However, the OP selected those quotes for a reason, and obviously saw nothing wrong with the bias / sloppy journalism / hindsight.

Since the OP didn't comment on those aspects, I thought a few words from myself would balance the books.
I can only offer my apologies if in doing so I trod on somebodies toes. :white:

As for the rest, with both yourself and Antarius cutting me to shreds, I guess I should accept that even back in 2003, anybody buying an A340 was making a tragic mistake.

Thai were at fault for buying such a gas-guzzler
Iberia, Lufthansa, Qatar, Etihad, Virgin Atlantic and others were at fault for buying them too. What were they thinking?
Airbus were at fault for designing and selling the A340 to gullible customers.
But mostly I'm at fault for remembering a time when those aircraft were entirely fit for purpose (although probably not in the case of TG)

:wave:
Nothing to see here; move along please.
 
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mercure1
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Re: Police: Corruption in Thai A340 aircraft deal

Thu Aug 27, 2020 3:06 am

Airbus was already in trouble with A340 sales in 2003-2004, and knew sales prospects were fast diminishing having already past its peak after barely 10-years in service. Airbus saving grace marketing-wise was to continue pushing A320-A330-A340 family concept and interchangeability of things like crews which was attractive to some customers.
And yes I know this as I participated with Airbus in some campaigns at the time.

Its pretty clear the frames were not very useful for TG having been withdrawn as soon as mere 7 years from delivery!

Here is short history
HS-TLA A340-500 delivered 2005, stored 2012
HS-TLB A340-500 delivered 2005, stored 2012
HS-TLC A340-500 delivered 2005, stored 2012 - transferred to Thai Air Force
HS-TLD A340-500 delivered 2007, stored 2012

HS-TNA A340-600 delivered 2005, stored 2015
HS-TNB A340-600 delivered 2005, stored 2015
HS-TNC A340-600 delivered 2005, stored 2015
HS-TND A340-600 delivered 2005, stored 2015
HS-TNE A340-600 delivered 2005, stored 2015
HS-TNF A340-600 delivered 2008, stored 2015
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Antaras
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Re: Police: Corruption in Thai A340 aircraft deal

Thu Aug 27, 2020 3:28 am

Okey what is the problem of ASEAN carriers? The corrupting scandal of Garuda and AirAsia Group was exposed, now it is Thai.
Who's next? SQ? VN? QR? Lion Air group? VietJet group?
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as739x
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Re: Police: Corruption in Thai A340 aircraft deal

Thu Aug 27, 2020 3:30 am

SheikhDjibouti wrote:
LAXintl wrote:
The direct flights to the US went ahead despite the Office of the National Economic and Social Development Council objecting to THAI acquiring those types of planes.
The agency questioned the feasibility of operating the fuel-guzzler planes profitably. Two years after the Bangkok-US services were launched, the airline recorded losses of 12 billion baht. The losses widened to 39 billion baht after the same aircraft were flown on other routes.
Whilst I don't doubt there has been corruption, I suspect a teensy-weensy bit of BIAS in your analysis there.



With hindsight (in 2020), all of us can see that two engines are better than four, but was that also the case in 2003?
Were two-engine designs as capable then? Were they available at the same price, and was there a waiting list?
When all factors are considered, did Thai really make such a bad choice?

If you truly believe that, Iberia, Lufthansa, Qatar, Etihad, Virgin Atlantic and others would like to have a word.


And looking back over time, many airlines have made the logical decision that the airplane to fly missions like this didn't exist. Just because a plane can make it somewhere doesn't mean its a wise choice. But it would appear something shady was going on at TG.

Comparing TG to the other carriers your referring to is Apples and Oranges. They most operated out of high yield markets, which BKK is not!
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Devilfish
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Re: Police: Corruption in Thai A340 aircraft deal

Thu Aug 27, 2020 3:30 am

Antarius wrote:
The 345 did not make any sense for TG ever. Launching flights to the US from BKK did not make sense, ever.

On the plus side, they would have a ready source of relatively low-cycle, VLR A345s should they ever find a need for a partner to this..... :duck:
mercure1 wrote:
HS-TLC A340-500 delivered 2005, stored 2012 - transferred to Thai Air Force



It was not very long ago that TG was a darling to many on here. :expressionless:
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Sokes
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Re: Police: Corruption in Thai A340 aircraft deal

Thu Aug 27, 2020 2:17 pm

mercure1 wrote:
Its pretty clear the frames were not very useful for TG having been withdrawn as soon as mere 7 years from delivery!

I used to argue that I can't imagine that the A380s get retired. Even B747-400 flew till recently.
But that's strong contradicting evidence to my believe.

How long did other airlines fly the model?
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solracfunk14
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Re: Police: Corruption in Thai A340 aircraft deal

Thu Aug 27, 2020 4:19 pm

Who paid the bribe? Airbus?
 
Antarius
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Re: Police: Corruption in Thai A340 aircraft deal

Thu Aug 27, 2020 4:37 pm

solracfunk14 wrote:
Who paid the bribe? Airbus?


Most likely. It was routed through some shell corporations.

Many of the bribes were paid through shell companies set up by executives working for an autonomous strategy and marketing unit once described by former chief executive Tom Enders as “bullshit castle”, according to investigators in the three countries.


Source: https://www.ft.com/content/f7a01a60-442 ... 7a29cd66fe

They've gotten busted for widespread bribery and paid a 4 billion fine. Likely, as a result of this finding, other countries (such as Thailand) started probes into questionable purchases like the a345 for TG.
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ScottB
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Re: Police: Corruption in Thai A340 aircraft deal

Thu Aug 27, 2020 5:34 pm

SheikhDjibouti wrote:
Got that, loud and clear. The Bangkok Post. My favorite publication for aviation matters. :shakehead:

But just in case you missed these words from me.
SheikhDjibouti wrote:
However, the OP selected those quotes for a reason, and obviously saw nothing wrong with the bias / sloppy journalism / hindsight.

Since the OP didn't comment on those aspects, I thought a few words from myself would balance the books.
I can only offer my apologies if in doing so I trod on somebodies toes. :white:


The Bangkok Post generally isn't a source of aviation news, but your logical contortions to attempt to discredit the story and the OP entirely miss the key point of the story: A Thai police probe found evidence of graft in the TG deal with Airbus to purchase A340s. The statements about "fuel-guzzler planes" and the airline's widening losses likely come right out of the report from the investigative team.

There's basically nothing in the news article which paints the A340 in the positive light you'd seem to prefer, and site rules require at least a summary of linked news articles or a bit of analysis.
 
lawair
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Re: Police: Corruption in Thai A340 aircraft deal

Thu Aug 27, 2020 8:36 pm

It's likely true that the A340s were a big reason that TG started losing money on paper after 2012. While operationally the aircraft was a mixed bag, for various years after 2012 one of the biggest hits to the airline's bottom line was "impairment loss of aircraft," which, if I recall correctly, was significantly affected by the A340s sitting unused and TG's inability to sell the models at any acceptable price level. They were the newest model of aircraft that TG was attempting to sell and not able to use. If you look at the financial statements for 2013, the impairment loss of aircraft jumped from 181,143,438 THB in 2012 to 5,092,536,008 (+2700%) in 2013 after the four A340-500s were retired. That number jumped to 11,876,432,369 in 2015 when a bunch of other aircraft, including six A340-600s were added.

If you ask people in Thailand, I imagine no one would be surprised by this story.
 
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klm617
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Re: Police: Corruption in Thai A340 aircraft deal

Thu Aug 27, 2020 9:54 pm

mercure1 wrote:
Airbus was already in trouble with A340 sales in 2003-2004, and knew sales prospects were fast diminishing having already past its peak after barely 10-years in service. Airbus saving grace marketing-wise was to continue pushing A320-A330-A340 family concept and interchangeability of things like crews which was attractive to some customers.
And yes I know this as I participated with Airbus in some campaigns at the time.

Its pretty clear the frames were not very useful for TG having been withdrawn as soon as mere 7 years from delivery!

Here is short history
HS-TLA A340-500 delivered 2005, stored 2012
HS-TLB A340-500 delivered 2005, stored 2012
HS-TLC A340-500 delivered 2005, stored 2012 - transferred to Thai Air Force
HS-TLD A340-500 delivered 2007, stored 2012

HS-TNA A340-600 delivered 2005, stored 2015
HS-TNB A340-600 delivered 2005, stored 2015
HS-TNC A340-600 delivered 2005, stored 2015
HS-TND A340-600 delivered 2005, stored 2015
HS-TNE A340-600 delivered 2005, stored 2015
HS-TNF A340-600 delivered 2008, stored 2015



7 to 10 years is a pretty good life span. No if it had been a year or two I'd say yes they didn't fit but many airlines depose of aircraft after 10 years.
the truth does matter, guys. too bad it's often quite subjective. the truth is beyond the mere facts and figures. it's beyond good and bad, right and wrong...
 
Wingtips56
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Re: Police: Corruption in Thai A340 aircraft deal

Thu Aug 27, 2020 10:10 pm

klm617 wrote:
7 to 10 years is a pretty good life span. No if it had been a year or two I'd say yes they didn't fit but many airlines depose of aircraft after 10 years.

For a carrier that wants to or is required to refresh their fleets in a fixed time period, or if the need changed and the fleet has some resale value, I would agree. In this case, TG was stuck with a young fleet that nobody wanted to take off their hands, whether or not corruption was involved at the outset. The A380 comes to mind in proving less valuable to operators than anticipated, and now (almost) nobody wants the used fleet that otherwise would still have some good years to go on them. The MD11 is different: it didn't live up to it's promise, but fortunately there was a secondary market for cargo operators.
Worked for WestAir, Apollo Airways, Desert Pacific, Western, AirCal and American Airlines (Retired). Flight Memory: 181 airports, 92 airlines, 78 a/c types, 403 routes, 58 countries (by air), 6 continents. 1,119,414 passenger miles.

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KFLLCFII
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Re: Police: Corruption in Thai A340 aircraft deal

Thu Aug 27, 2020 10:12 pm

In other news, authorities are looking into PanAm's acquisition of Sikorsky S-40s...
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Antarius
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Re: Police: Corruption in Thai A340 aircraft deal

Thu Aug 27, 2020 10:30 pm

klm617 wrote:
7 to 10 years is a pretty good life span. No if it had been a year or two I'd say yes they didn't fit but many airlines depose of aircraft after 10 years.


For an entire fleet type? Nice try. Sure, an airline like EK or SQ might cycle their a380s or 777s as they hit 10 years and bring in new ones, but not a lot of airlines buy and dump the lot that quickly. AA and the MD11 is the only other one that comes to mind.

There's some serious effort here to twist the reality to fit a narrative.
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filipinoavgeek
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Re: Police: Corruption in Thai A340 aircraft deal

Thu Aug 27, 2020 11:43 pm

Wingtips56 wrote:
klm617 wrote:
The A380 comes to mind in proving less valuable to operators than anticipated, and now (almost) nobody wants the used fleet that otherwise would still have some good years to go on them.

Is this referring to the worldwide A380 fleet as a whole or TG specifically? If it's the latter, does that mean the TG frames are almost certainly destined for early retirement then scrapping?
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Wingtips56
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Re: Police: Corruption in Thai A340 aircraft deal

Fri Aug 28, 2020 12:55 am

380 in general. With the previous retirements and as the current carriers are grounding them early due to Covid-19, there are some reasonably young whales out there that are unlikely to find a place with another carrier. Only a couple have been picked up, right?
Worked for WestAir, Apollo Airways, Desert Pacific, Western, AirCal and American Airlines (Retired). Flight Memory: 181 airports, 92 airlines, 78 a/c types, 403 routes, 58 countries (by air), 6 continents. 1,119,414 passenger miles.

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filipinoavgeek
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Re: Police: Corruption in Thai A340 aircraft deal

Fri Aug 28, 2020 1:20 am

Wingtips56 wrote:
380 in general. With the previous retirements and as the current carriers are grounding them early due to Covid-19, there are some reasonably young whales out there that are unlikely to find a place with another carrier. Only a couple have been picked up, right?


AFAIK only one A380 has found a new home (an ex-SQ frame that went to HiFly). HiFly was apparently planning on getting at least one more frame but I'm not sure if that's still pushing through. The rest of the retired A380s have either been scrapped (9V-SKA :cry:), are planned to be scrapped, or in long-term storage with future prospects bleak.
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Wingtips56
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Re: Police: Corruption in Thai A340 aircraft deal

Fri Aug 28, 2020 1:31 am

That's what I thought. I have no idea what's up with TG's fleet of them, but I assume they are not currently economical in the Covid-19 downturn. Is it better to park them without a buyer lined up, or fly them to at least generate some revenue? Is the BKK market still down from the social disturbances downturn of a few years ago?
Worked for WestAir, Apollo Airways, Desert Pacific, Western, AirCal and American Airlines (Retired). Flight Memory: 181 airports, 92 airlines, 78 a/c types, 403 routes, 58 countries (by air), 6 continents. 1,119,414 passenger miles.

Home airport : CEC
 
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qf2220
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Re: Police: Corruption in Thai A340 aircraft deal

Fri Aug 28, 2020 1:35 am

Antarius wrote:
Wingtips56 wrote:
They are just now looking into this? Seems a bit late.


When the order was placed, there were only 2 possible options - corruption or extreme stupidity. I guess it took 15 years for the allure of chalking it up to stupidity to wear off.


Or 15 years for the power group providing cover for the group/individuals who became enriched to fall away and let the truth be prosecuted?
 
filipinoavgeek
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Re: Police: Corruption in Thai A340 aircraft deal

Fri Aug 28, 2020 2:33 am

Wingtips56 wrote:
I have no idea what's up with TG's fleet of them, but I assume they are not currently economical in the Covid-19 downturn. Is it better to park them without a buyer lined up, or fly them to at least generate some revenue?

IIRC their entire A380 fleet is currently grounded in Bangkok or U-Tapao, with only some occasional ferry flights.
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2007 - 2019
 
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RyanairGuru
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Re: Police: Corruption in Thai A340 aircraft deal

Fri Aug 28, 2020 2:58 am

klm617 wrote:
mercure1 wrote:
Airbus was already in trouble with A340 sales in 2003-2004, and knew sales prospects were fast diminishing having already past its peak after barely 10-years in service. Airbus saving grace marketing-wise was to continue pushing A320-A330-A340 family concept and interchangeability of things like crews which was attractive to some customers.
And yes I know this as I participated with Airbus in some campaigns at the time.

Its pretty clear the frames were not very useful for TG having been withdrawn as soon as mere 7 years from delivery!

Here is short history
HS-TLA A340-500 delivered 2005, stored 2012
HS-TLB A340-500 delivered 2005, stored 2012
HS-TLC A340-500 delivered 2005, stored 2012 - transferred to Thai Air Force
HS-TLD A340-500 delivered 2007, stored 2012

HS-TNA A340-600 delivered 2005, stored 2015
HS-TNB A340-600 delivered 2005, stored 2015
HS-TNC A340-600 delivered 2005, stored 2015
HS-TND A340-600 delivered 2005, stored 2015
HS-TNE A340-600 delivered 2005, stored 2015
HS-TNF A340-600 delivered 2008, stored 2015



7 to 10 years is a pretty good life span. No if it had been a year or two I'd say yes they didn't fit but many airlines depose of aircraft after 10 years.


The post above yours by lawair suggests that reasoning doesn't apply here.

The most prominent example of an airline retiring aircraft in the 7-10 year range is Singapore Airlines, but they benefit from very favorable depreciation rules in Singapore that are designed to ensure rapid cycling of assets. The taxation rules in Singapore, though, are definitely an exception rather than the rule.

The fact that Thai took such large impairment charges coinciding with the retirement of the A345 and A346 strongly implies that these aircraft were never intended to be retired so quickly, and were expected to have a much longer in-service life.
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filipinoavgeek
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Re: Police: Corruption in Thai A340 aircraft deal

Fri Aug 28, 2020 3:04 am

RyanairGuru wrote:
The most prominent example of an airline retiring aircraft in the 7-10 year range is Singapore Airlines, but they benefit from very favorable depreciation rules in Singapore that are designed to ensure rapid cycling of assets. The taxation rules in Singapore, though, are definitely an exception rather than the rule.


An airliner frame being scrapped after just 10 years of operation, like what happened to 9V-SKA and 9V-SKB, is highly unusual in the modern airline industry right?
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AngMoh
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Re: Police: Corruption in Thai A340 aircraft deal

Fri Aug 28, 2020 2:12 pm

lawair wrote:
It's likely true that the A340s were a big reason that TG started losing money on paper after 2012. While operationally the aircraft was a mixed bag, for various years after 2012 one of the biggest hits to the airline's bottom line was "impairment loss of aircraft," which, if I recall correctly, was significantly affected by the A340s sitting unused and TG's inability to sell the models at any acceptable price level. They were the newest model of aircraft that TG was attempting to sell and not able to use. If you look at the financial statements for 2013, the impairment loss of aircraft jumped from 181,143,438 THB in 2012 to 5,092,536,008 (+2700%) in 2013 after the four A340-500s were retired. That number jumped to 11,876,432,369 in 2015 when a bunch of other aircraft, including six A340-600s were added.

If you ask people in Thailand, I imagine no one would be surprised by this story.


The problem was not the aircraft. It was the configuration. I have flown their A346 to LHR in J and while it was a great trip, financially it made no sense. It was by far the cheapest J available, partially because the configuration was way too premium heavy. Similar with some other routes. Brussels with a premium heavy 77W? Why? Even when 77E to OSL: probably 2 paying J passengers and there rest were upgraded tourists in J on bargain basement fares.
The planes selected were far from optimum but even the best plane selection would have bankrupted them because nothing else made sense. But for me it was a very cheap way to fly J to Europe and get my StarAlliance Gold status.
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skipness1E
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Re: Thailand: Corruption in Thai A340 aircraft deal

Fri Aug 28, 2020 2:19 pm

Has anyone seen the three stored A345s at DMK recently? Are they at all photographable?
 
TheEuphorian
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Re: Thailand: Corruption in Thai A340 aircraft deal

Fri Aug 28, 2020 2:35 pm

skipness1E wrote:
Has anyone seen the three stored A345s at DMK recently? Are they at all photographable?

IIRC they are all stored either in the cargo apron or in front of the TG maintenance hangar which can't be photographed easily.
 
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Re: Thailand: Corruption in Thai A340 aircraft deal

Fri Aug 28, 2020 3:06 pm

Speaking of Thailand, does anyone know how the newer LCCs like Thai Lion and Thai VietJet were doing pre-COVID and how they're doing now?
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Re: Police: Corruption in Thai A340 aircraft deal

Fri Aug 28, 2020 3:09 pm

filipinoavgeek wrote:
RyanairGuru wrote:
The most prominent example of an airline retiring aircraft in the 7-10 year range is Singapore Airlines, but they benefit from very favorable depreciation rules in Singapore that are designed to ensure rapid cycling of assets. The taxation rules in Singapore, though, are definitely an exception rather than the rule.

An airliner frame being scrapped after just 10 years of operation, like what happened to 9V-SKA and 9V-SKB, is highly unusual in the modern airline industry right?

A new airframe put into service on a 10 year lease is not unusual. What is unusual is for there to be no market for the aircraft on a second lease. In this regard A380 and A340-500/600 seem to be setting a bad precedent. It makes one really wonder about the leasing market going forward. CFRP in A350 and 787 means they can have extraordinary long lives with low maintenance but at higher capital cost. It makes one wonder if they would not have been better off going with metallic fuselages. Some early 777s were retired because upgrading their avionics to meet current requirements would have been too costly. We're heading for interesting times, says I.
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Re: Police: Corruption in Thai A340 aircraft deal

Fri Aug 28, 2020 3:14 pm

Revelation wrote:
filipinoavgeek wrote:
RyanairGuru wrote:
The most prominent example of an airline retiring aircraft in the 7-10 year range is Singapore Airlines, but they benefit from very favorable depreciation rules in Singapore that are designed to ensure rapid cycling of assets. The taxation rules in Singapore, though, are definitely an exception rather than the rule.

An airliner frame being scrapped after just 10 years of operation, like what happened to 9V-SKA and 9V-SKB, is highly unusual in the modern airline industry right?

A new airframe put into service on a 10 year lease is not unusual. What is unusual is for there to be no market for the aircraft on a second lease. In this regard A380 and A340-500/600 seem to be setting a bad precedent. It makes one really wonder about the leasing market going forward. CFRP in A350 and 787 means they can have extraordinary long lives with low maintenance but at higher capital cost. It makes one wonder if they would not have been better off going with metallic fuselages. Some early 777s were retired because upgrading their avionics to meet current requirements would have been too costly. We're heading for interesting times, says I.

Why did most A340-500s not see a second operator after being retired? A lot of A340-200s and A340-300s had long service lives so why not the -500? Is it because of the long range thing?
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Re: Police: Corruption in Thai A340 aircraft deal

Fri Aug 28, 2020 3:21 pm

filipinoavgeek wrote:
Revelation wrote:
filipinoavgeek wrote:
An airliner frame being scrapped after just 10 years of operation, like what happened to 9V-SKA and 9V-SKB, is highly unusual in the modern airline industry right?

A new airframe put into service on a 10 year lease is not unusual. What is unusual is for there to be no market for the aircraft on a second lease. In this regard A380 and A340-500/600 seem to be setting a bad precedent. It makes one really wonder about the leasing market going forward. CFRP in A350 and 787 means they can have extraordinary long lives with low maintenance but at higher capital cost. It makes one wonder if they would not have been better off going with metallic fuselages. Some early 777s were retired because upgrading their avionics to meet current requirements would have been too costly. We're heading for interesting times, says I.

Why did most A340-500s not see a second operator after being retired? A lot of A340-200s and A340-300s had long service lives so why not the -500? Is it because of the long range thing?

Burns too much fuel to be competitive with the 77L/77W on longer (not even talking about ULH) flights and much heavier (so obviously burns a lot more fuel) than the slightly smaller A343 and similar sized 77E that can be used on shorter flights. There really is no market that has any use for even a used A345 unless you are carrying a lot of weight across ultra long distances, which is very very niche.

Many A343s have had a long service life (disagree with your assessment about the A342) because it’s fuel burn is actually pretty competitive with the 77E, it just can’t lift as much payload as far which is fine if you don’t need that extra payload.
 
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Re: Police: Corruption in Thai A340 aircraft deal

Fri Aug 28, 2020 3:28 pm

filipinoavgeek wrote:
Revelation wrote:
filipinoavgeek wrote:
An airliner frame being scrapped after just 10 years of operation, like what happened to 9V-SKA and 9V-SKB, is highly unusual in the modern airline industry right?

A new airframe put into service on a 10 year lease is not unusual. What is unusual is for there to be no market for the aircraft on a second lease. In this regard A380 and A340-500/600 seem to be setting a bad precedent. It makes one really wonder about the leasing market going forward. CFRP in A350 and 787 means they can have extraordinary long lives with low maintenance but at higher capital cost. It makes one wonder if they would not have been better off going with metallic fuselages. Some early 777s were retired because upgrading their avionics to meet current requirements would have been too costly. We're heading for interesting times, says I.

Why did most A340-500s not see a second operator after being retired? A lot of A340-200s and A340-300s had long service lives so why not the -500? Is it because of the long range thing?


Timing. a decade after the EIS of the a340-300 was 2003. There was no 77W, the 77E and a332 only entered service in 1997/1998, so it wasn't widely available on the second hand market.

By the time the a340-500/600 hit a decade, it was 2012. The aircraft was arguably behind the times when it launched as a quad, so a decade later it was left far far behind by the litany of more capable and better twins. a333 HGW , the a332, the 77W, 772 were available on the second hand market as well as the 787 was just out. Why would anyone want a a340-500/600?
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Re: Police: Corruption in Thai A340 aircraft deal

Fri Aug 28, 2020 3:37 pm

Revelation wrote:
filipinoavgeek wrote:
RyanairGuru wrote:
The most prominent example of an airline retiring aircraft in the 7-10 year range is Singapore Airlines, but they benefit from very favorable depreciation rules in Singapore that are designed to ensure rapid cycling of assets. The taxation rules in Singapore, though, are definitely an exception rather than the rule.

An airliner frame being scrapped after just 10 years of operation, like what happened to 9V-SKA and 9V-SKB, is highly unusual in the modern airline industry right?

A new airframe put into service on a 10 year lease is not unusual. What is unusual is for there to be no market for the aircraft on a second lease. In this regard A380 and A340-500/600 seem to be setting a bad precedent.

It's not that unusual.

Most passenger MD-11 were retired quickly in the early 2000's, sometimes not even 10 years old. Many saw a second life as freighters, yes, but their passenger career was extremely short.

Many A318 were scrapped or stored before their 10th birthday as well.

There were reports that GA is looking to sell their CRJ-1000 (delivered 2012 - 15) but nobody seems to want them; Air France HOP has also announced plans to retire the CRJ this year. That leaves only one major operator (Air Nostrum).

A bunch of young (10 - 15 year old) Dash 8-400 was released on the market recently through the shutdown of FlyBe and LGW, most of which are stored and unlikely to find a buyer.
 
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Re: Police: Corruption in Thai A340 aircraft deal

Fri Aug 28, 2020 3:58 pm

mercure1 wrote:
Airbus was already in trouble with A340 sales in 2003-2004, and knew sales prospects were fast diminishing having already past its peak after barely 10-years in service. Airbus saving grace marketing-wise was to continue pushing A320-A330-A340 family concept and interchangeability of things like crews which was attractive to some customers.
And yes I know this as I participated with Airbus in some campaigns at the time.


In that period of time, Boeing was in the same position as well. If you do not remember, in 2001 was the year that Bin LAden decided to end 2 skyscrapers in NY with some tousand of life. After that came the Afganistan and Iraq invasion.... Bear in mind that Boeing was like Airbus, fighting for every order. Maybe the adquisicion from Iberia, Lufthansa, Swiss and other companies where also because they received money in exchange? :old:
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Re: Police: Corruption in Thai A340 aircraft deal

Fri Aug 28, 2020 8:02 pm

talonone wrote:
mercure1 wrote:
Airbus was already in trouble with A340 sales in 2003-2004, and knew sales prospects were fast diminishing having already past its peak after barely 10-years in service. Airbus saving grace marketing-wise was to continue pushing A320-A330-A340 family concept and interchangeability of things like crews which was attractive to some customers.
And yes I know this as I participated with Airbus in some campaigns at the time.


In that period of time, Boeing was in the same position as well. If you do not remember, in 2001 was the year that Bin LAden decided to end 2 skyscrapers in NY with some tousand of life. After that came the Afganistan and Iraq invasion.... Bear in mind that Boeing was like Airbus, fighting for every order. Maybe the adquisicion from Iberia, Lufthansa, Swiss and other companies where also because they received money in exchange? :old:


That's quite a suggestion (/accusation) to make... Certainly Lufthansa seems extremely unlikely given their commitment to the 4 Engines 4 Long Haul mantra (as shown by the 748 acquisition among other things), Swiss and SAA were similar, both staying clear of ETOPS for the time being.

A few of those carriers ordered them out of relative 'convenience', IIRC VS ordered the A346s with some IFE retrofitting of the existing Airbus fleet thrown in, due to, among other reasons, apparently it was easier to get funding for new A/C then the much smaller sums needed for refurbishments. I remember a story of a similar nature for Etihad.
 
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Re: Thailand: Corruption in Thai A340 aircraft deal

Fri Aug 28, 2020 8:07 pm

filipinoavgeek wrote:
Speaking of Thailand, does anyone know how the newer LCCs like Thai Lion and Thai VietJet were doing pre-COVID and how they're doing now?

Dunno about ThaiLion, but ThaiVietJet is doing so well. Its mother group in Vietnam surprisingly report that it made a profit in the first half of 2020, and saying that it would definitely expand its Thai subsidiary.
Besides that, TVJ is rumored to receive all 20 737 Max 8 ordered by the Vietnamese mother (VJ Group ordered 20 Max 8, 100 Max 8-200 and 80 Max 10)
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lawair
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Re: Police: Corruption in Thai A340 aircraft deal

Sat Aug 29, 2020 1:03 am

AngMoh wrote:
lawair wrote:
It's likely true that the A340s were a big reason that TG started losing money on paper after 2012. While operationally the aircraft was a mixed bag, for various years after 2012 one of the biggest hits to the airline's bottom line was "impairment loss of aircraft," which, if I recall correctly, was significantly affected by the A340s sitting unused and TG's inability to sell the models at any acceptable price level. They were the newest model of aircraft that TG was attempting to sell and not able to use. If you look at the financial statements for 2013, the impairment loss of aircraft jumped from 181,143,438 THB in 2012 to 5,092,536,008 (+2700%) in 2013 after the four A340-500s were retired. That number jumped to 11,876,432,369 in 2015 when a bunch of other aircraft, including six A340-600s were added.

If you ask people in Thailand, I imagine no one would be surprised by this story.


The problem was not the aircraft. It was the configuration. I have flown their A346 to LHR in J and while it was a great trip, financially it made no sense. It was by far the cheapest J available, partially because the configuration was way too premium heavy. Similar with some other routes. Brussels with a premium heavy 77W? Why? Even when 77E to OSL: probably 2 paying J passengers and there rest were upgraded tourists in J on bargain basement fares.
The planes selected were far from optimum but even the best plane selection would have bankrupted them because nothing else made sense. But for me it was a very cheap way to fly J to Europe and get my StarAlliance Gold status.


The configuration was problematic, but I think you missed my point. I was not talking about whether the A340s were operationally profitable. In most years that TG operated A340s, TG itself was profitable, even if the A340 operations may or may not have been. My point is that the A340s being grounded and unsold were a huge drag on TG's income statement for years starting in 2013, which helped to result in losses. The numbers I point to suggest that when they stopped flying the A340s and could not find a willing buyer at the prices TG was expecting, TG took large hits to the income statement. (I think the aircraft were already paid for though, so it didn't harm TG that much in terms of cash I believe.)
 
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Re: Thailand: Corruption in Thai A340 aircraft deal

Fri Sep 04, 2020 6:56 pm

More news coming out.

An investigation panel commissioned by Thailand's Ministry of Transport has found.that ongoing mismanagement and graft brought down TG.

The panel found signs of graft in connection with the purchase of the 10 A340 aircraft. There was evidence of bribes of at least 2.6 billion baht paid to politicians, officials and Thai Airways' executives, according to the report.
They also discovered a discrepancy on operating leases on eight B787s. The panel believes that the price gap was used to funnel in some $7.2 billion in bribes paid by Rolls-Royce.

Relatives and other people close to company executives were hired without having proper knowledge or qualifications, and held top positions in the company, the report said. Materials used for in-flight catering and fuel supplies for aircraft were provided by just a handful of operators, creating a closed circle of oligopoly.

https://asia.nikkei.com/Business/Transp ... ways-panel
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Antarius
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Re: Thailand: Corruption in Thai A340 aircraft deal

Fri Sep 04, 2020 7:08 pm

mercure1 wrote:
More news coming out.

An investigation panel commissioned by Thailand's Ministry of Transport has found.that ongoing mismanagement and graft brought down TG.

The panel found signs of graft in connection with the purchase of the 10 A340 aircraft. There was evidence of bribes of at least 2.6 billion baht paid to politicians, officials and Thai Airways' executives, according to the report.
They also discovered a discrepancy on operating leases on eight B787s. The panel believes that the price gap was used to funnel in some $7.2 billion in bribes paid by Rolls-Royce.

Relatives and other people close to company executives were hired without having proper knowledge or qualifications, and held top positions in the company, the report said. Materials used for in-flight catering and fuel supplies for aircraft were provided by just a handful of operators, creating a closed circle of oligopoly.

https://asia.nikkei.com/Business/Transp ... ways-panel


$7.2 billion?
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Re: Police: Corruption in Thai A340 aircraft deal

Fri Sep 04, 2020 7:29 pm

SheikhDjibouti wrote:
LAXintl wrote:
The direct flights to the US went ahead despite the Office of the National Economic and Social Development Council objecting to THAI acquiring those types of planes.
The agency questioned the feasibility of operating the fuel-guzzler planes profitably. Two years after the Bangkok-US services were launched, the airline recorded losses of 12 billion baht. The losses widened to 39 billion baht after the same aircraft were flown on other routes.
Whilst I don't doubt there has been corruption, I suspect a teensy-weensy bit of BIAS in your analysis there.

The first clue was your use of the phrase "fuel-guzzler".
.


With a barrel of Oil being below 25$ at the time, how much fuel was burned hardly mattered. Then the Iraq war happend and the stuff trended towards 100$.

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Re: Thailand: Corruption in Thai A340 aircraft deal

Fri Sep 04, 2020 7:30 pm

Antarius wrote:
mercure1 wrote:
The panel found signs of graft in connection with the purchase of the 10 A340 aircraft. There was evidence of bribes of at least 2.6 billion baht paid to politicians, officials and Thai Airways' executives, according to the report.
They also discovered a discrepancy on operating leases on eight B787s. The panel believes that the price gap was used to funnel in some $7.2 billion in bribes paid by Rolls-Royce.

$7.2 billion?

Seems to be out of whack.

In https://www.theguardian.com/business/20 ... -us-brazil they admit to spending $34M on bribes to Thailand.

The relevant section:

The panel found signs of graft in connection with the purchase of the 10 aircraft. There was evidence of bribes of at least 2.6 billion baht paid to politicians, officials and Thai Airways' executives, according to the report.

Apart from the Airbus deal, a price discrepancy of as much as 589 million baht in operating leases on eight Boeing B787s was also seen. The panel believes that the price gap was used to funnel in some $7.2 billion in bribes paid by Rolls-Royce through middlemen to officials and airline executives for the purchase of engine parts and the payment of a flat rate for repair and maintenance services.
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2nd2none
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Re: Thailand: Corruption in Thai A340 aircraft deal

Fri Sep 04, 2020 7:44 pm

Tell me about one single deal made by Thai (whatever), corruption was not a part of the game, and I would be surprised and tell you that I think that is impossible, sorry that is a fact, I have lived there long enough to know better!

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