Time Capsule

Short-lived Air Siam gave it a shot


Thailand's Air Siam was the first private carrier to compete with Thai Airways International and it only did so for a short time. Pictured is its one and only McDonnell Douglas DC-10-30. 

Air Siam began in 1965 as Varan Air-Siam, but it didn’t begin flying until 1969 with a McDonnell Douglas DC-4 to Hong Kong. In 1971 it began Bangkok-Los Angeles service with a leased DC-8-63, but the route was discontinued after only 10 months due to low yields.

It began operating its Hong Kong route with a single BAC-1-11 and then leased a Boeing 707-131 to extend the route to Tokyo.

In 1975, after much delay from the Japanese and US civil aviation authorities, and its own Thai government, Air Siam began leased DC-10 Bangkok-Los Angeles service via Fukuoka. The airline was planning to add a second DC-10, but competition from Thai Airways caused Air Siam huge losses and it returned the aircraft on November 10, 1976, before declaring bankruptcy.

In its short history, Air Siam also flew a McDonnell Douglas DC-8-63, an Airbus A300 and three Boeing 747s.

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