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Thailand’s Seaplane History

Have you ever wondered where Sanambinnam (สนามบินน้ำ) in Nonthaburi got its name? Let’s embark on a journey through time, as we explore the origins of this intriguing name and the historical significance it holds for Thailand. In the past, Don Mueang Airport was a modest facility primarily used by the military, and there were no international commercial flights flying in and out on an hourly basis like we are familiar with today. 

A significant chapter in Thailand's aviation history was borne with the introduction of “The Empire Air Mail Scheme” which was to provide regular connections between the countries of the British Empire primarily for postage and for those who could afford it. The service offered a one class service (first class only), consisting of the finest of on-board meal and beverage selections. Overnight accommodation stops for these trips were also included at the best available lodgings. 


In order to operate and navigate through countries with limited aviation infrastructure, the Short S.23 Empire aircraft took center stage and played a pivotal role in connecting the British Empire routes together and yes, Bangkok, Thailand was one of the stops. The UK-Australia route was operated by British Overseas Airways Corporation (BOAC) and Qantas Empire Airways  with a layover in Bangkok that saw these magnificent seaplanes gracefully touch down on the Chao Phraya River in the Sanambinnam area.

Sanambinnam, with its rich aviation history, stands as a testament to Thailand's dynamic past, where the Chao Phraya River once served as the runway for majestic seaplanes, etching a remarkable chapter in the nation's history.

Are you curious about more facts & figures related to seaplanes? Check out our collection of facts here.

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