Thai International introduced Nepal to the jet age with its first regular flights between Bangkok and Kathmandu on 4 December 1968, and the airline is marking its 51st anniversary with a series of events this year.
The first flight was by a Caravelle aircraft that flew from Bangkok to Kathmandu with a stopover in Calcutta. The plane deployed iconic parachute from its tail on landing to slow down the plane because of Kathmandu airport’s elevation and short runway at the time.
After that, Thai used DC-9s and the bigger four-engined Douglas DC-8 on the route, bringing Nepal closer to the rest of the world and promoting tourism in Nepal through its Asia-Pacific and Europe network. In the 1970s, Thai International had a management contract with SAS, sharing crew and aircraft, and aggressively promoted tourism to exotic Asian destinations like Bali and Kathmandu from Bangkok.
Thai International was also the first airline to start widebody service to Nepal with the Airbus 310 and Airbus 300s, and 15 years ago started flying its new Boeing 777s to Kathmandu. It dropped its Calcutta stopover, and increased the frequency to daily flights with convenient connections to other destinations in the airline’s network.