Uncovering Bangkok Airways: A 50-Year History of Southeast Asia's Leading Airline

For more than fifty years, Bangkok Airways has been providing travelers with reliable and comfortable air services. Founded in 1968 by Prasert Prasarttong-Osoth, Bangkok Airways has grown from a small domestic carrier to one of the most respected airlines in Southeast Asia. With a current fleet of 65 aircraft, Bangkok Airways serves over 40 destinations in 12 countries around the world.

Uncovering Bangkok Airways: A 50-Year History of Southeast Asia's Leading Airline

The airline was originally founded as Sahakol Air in 1968 and was the first privately owned airline in Thailand. Prasert Prasarttong-Osoth had the vision to bring air travel to Thailand, which was primarily serviced by state-owned carriers. The airline started operations with a single de Havilland Heron aircraft, offering charter and cargo flights. In 1969, the airline was renamed Bangkok Airways and began offering scheduled passenger services.

In the 1970s, Bangkok Airways grew to become Thailand’s leading domestic airline. The airline expanded its fleet, adding new aircraft such as the de Havilland Canada DHC-6 Twin Otter, the Fokker F27 Friendship, and the Boeing 737-200. In 1979, the airline also became the first Thai carrier to offer international flights.

Since then, Bangkok Airways has continued to expand its operations and fleet, introducing new aircraft such as the ATR 72-500, Airbus A320, and Airbus A319. The airline has also grown its network of destinations to include cities in Cambodia, China, India, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, South Korea, and Vietnam. In the early 2000s, Bangkok Airways also launched its new low-cost subsidiary, Bangkok AirAsia.

Throughout its history, Bangkok Airways has achieved several significant milestones. In 1996, the airline became the first Asian carrier to offer a frequent flyer program. In 2009, the airline also became the first in Thailand to install a fully automated check-in system. In 2015, Bangkok Airways was the first Thai carrier to offer in-flight Wi-Fi.

In its more than fifty years of operation, Bangkok Airways has had a few incidents involving its aircraft. In 1998, a Bangkok Airways flight from Bangkok to Chiang Mai crashed into a mountain due to pilot error, resulting in the loss of 101 lives. The airline also faced a federal investigation in 2000 after its plane crashed in Laos due to engine failure.

Today, Bangkok Airways remains one of the leading airlines in Southeast Asia. With its fleet of 65 aircraft, the airline serves more than 40 destinations in 12 countries. Bangkok Airways continues to innovate and grow, offering travelers a safe and comfortable air travel experience.