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Thai Cabinet 8.8 Billion Baht on VIP Planes but Chinese not convinced

A budget of 8.78 billion baht has been agreed by the Cabinet to purchase new aircraft for VIPs, including royals, privy councillors, prime ministers, ministers, and royal visitors.

The plan, put up by the Prime Minister’s Secretariat and accepted on Tuesday, calls for the purchase of new aircraft and their parts as well as staff training.

In the four years starting with the fiscal year 2024, the budget will be spent in the following amounts: 1.75 billion baht in 2024, 2.19 billion baht in 2025, 2.20 billion baht in 2026, and 2.63 billion baht in 2027.

According to the plan, Thai Airways International (THAIoutdated )’s Airbus A340-500 that is used by the Royal Thai Air Force (RTAF) for VIP travel needs to be replaced.

The proposal stated, “The Airbus, which THAI utilized between 2005 and 2012, was commissioned in 2015,” and added that after Airbus ceased manufacture in 2012, maintenance costs for the aircraft had increased.

In addition to helping victims of natural catastrophes and evacuating Thai nationals abroad, the Airbus is currently utilized to transport VIPs.

The proposal further said that “the RTAF has created an operation plan, budget expenditure, assessment of the risk of corruption, and list of procurement needs.”

China, meantime

Taobao, a Chinese e-commerce website, offers VIP packages for Thailand.

Although a Thai travel blogger revealed that those services and elite visas are in fact accessible for purchase on the Chinese e-commerce site Taobao, the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) says that no VIP service packages or fast passes have been made available for purchase in China.

Different unlawful services are being sold on Chinese social media sites, as reported by internet users. These include IVF services, VIP airport transfers with Thai police help, long-term or elite visa services, licensing and registration aid, bodyguard services, bank account opening assistance, etc.

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