Saudia, the Saudi Arabian flag carrier, arrived at Suvarnabhumi Airport with 71 passengers on board, marking the first direct trip to Thailand in 32 years. The flight signals the re-establishment of diplomatic ties between the two countries.
The 298-seater Saudia Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner airplane, registration HZ-AR13, took off from King Khalid International Airport (RUH), also known as Riyadh Airport, in Saudi Arabia on February 28, 2022, for flight SV846 to Suvarnabhumi Airport (BKK) in Bangkok, Thailand, according to Flightradar24.com data.
A group of executives from the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) and Thailand’s Minister of Tourism and Sports, Pipat Ratchakitprakan, greeted the inaugural flight with enthusiasm.
“We expect the direct flights will open new opportunities for tourism businesses in Thailand from Middle Eastern visitors,” a TAT spokesperson told local media on the day the aircraft arrived at BKK.
The trip follows the Blue Diamond Affair, a diplomatic spat between Saudi Arabia and Thailand that began in 1989 when a Thai servant allegedly stole 91 kilos (approximately 200 pounds) of jewelry and diamonds.
A beautiful 50-carat blue diamond from Saudi Arabian Prince Faisal bin Fahd Al Saud’s palace was among them.
The suspected theft sparked a string of unsolved crimes, including the assassination of several Saudi ambassadors in Thailand.
Diplomatic relations were restored in January 2022 after Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman asked Thailand’s Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha to visit Saudi Arabia on an official visit.