Boeingland Khorat

As a self-proclaimed airline-nerd, there are no other structures around the world that draws my attention as much as  a re-purposed aircraft in any form. On two occasions in the past, I stayed in the cockpit suite at Jumbostay at Aarlanda, Sweden. Therefore, a visit to the retired Boeing 747 near a rice-field in Khorat in Thailand, was a very natural thing for me to visit. 

The aircraft is a Boeing 747-200, the 192nd aircraft in the production line. The aircraft started it’s long career back in June 1972 with Japan Airlines. In January 1999 - after 27 years of hard labour for Japan Airlines, she was eventually sold to Jumbo Jet Inc., which in turn sold her a month later to Air Atlanta Icelandic. 

In March 2000, the aircraft was then leased out from Air Atlanta Icelandic to Air Afrique for a month before being sent into retirement for the first time. Then, between June and September 2001 the aircraft returned to service under a lease to Air Algerie. Afterwards, for a second time, the Boeing 747 was sent into retirement again. 

But, it wasn’t the end of use for this aircraft, as she was again returned to service under a new lease to Saudi Arabian Airlines for two months between January and March 2002. At the end of this charter, she was for the thrid time sent into retirement. 

Later that year, in October 2002, the Boeing 747 was sold to Cuda Ray Investments Inc and a month later, the aircraft was handed over to Orient Thai Airways and recieved it’s final registration HS-TUB. From my information, she flew under the house-flag of Orient Thai Airlines until some time during 2016. 

Then, at some point, she was dismantled, transported by trucks to her current location, and assembeled together again. Today, she stands tall over a small park, next to ricefields without her engines as the natural main attraction next to a coffe shop and a pub. At the moment, there are plans to convert the aircraft into use for resort-style accomondations. I have personally seen some really beautiful design-proposals for what the final product will look like, and those renderings were really beautiful. 

There are some locally (Thai) made videos on youtube, where you can also see the gutted interiors of the aircraft: this is one video for example: Resort Boeing. On the day of my visit, the insides were off limit to all visitors. 

At the age of a little more than 45 years, this Boeing 747-200 has clearly now seen better days. After all, she started her career just a month ahead of myself, so its really no age to talk about. But, then again, its no secret to anybody, that the upkeep of such a large item takes a lot of time, money and man-hours. Walking around the aircraft and looking at her current condition, which is really not too bad as of yet, but in need of continous repair, maintenance, cleaning and upkeep. Delaying any work on the aircraft in this hot and moist climate, surely will be a major mistake for the future. 

Seeing this beautiful and massive piece of engineering, my thoughts immediately sent me back to my first stay at Jumbostay in Sweden, where I got to meet the owner telling me about the many momentous challenges they experiecend when rebuilding their aircraft to commercial accomondations use. Needless to say, I also believe the regulations for such work carried out in Scandinavia is way stricter than in Thailand. 

Whether they eventually make the transition to a hotel on board the aircraft or not, is left up to time to prove. Naturally, nothing would please me more than to be able to sleep on board the aircraft some time in the future. The best thing we all can do, is to make an extra effort trying to visit again and again, and leave some money behind at the cafe or pub. Without interest and without income, as with all other businesses in the world, we might never see this project be completed. 

If you wish to visit this theme-park in Nakorn Ratchasima province (Khorat), in Thailand, by yourself, the exact coordinates you may wish to bring over to for example Google Earth, is as follows:  14°52'33.36”N 102° 2'37.20"E

The first time I heard of this aircraft and this place, in Bangkok Post.

© : 2005 - 2021