[Photo provided by Korea Aerospace Industries Ltd.]
South Korea’s sole military aircraft manufacturer Korea Aerospace Industries Ltd. (KAI) said on Monday that it began delivery of its T-50TH supersonic trainer jets to Thailand’s Air Force as a part of a deal won from the Thai government in 2015.
The trainer jets arrived at Takhli Royal Thai Air Force Base via a 12-hour 6,658 kilometer ferry flight after leaving Sacheon, South Gyeongsang Province, at 9 a.m., and flying through Taiwan, the Philippines, and Malaysia, on Monday.
An unnamed official from KAI said that it signed a $110 million contract with the Thai government in 2015 to export four T-50TH trainer jets. Two of four aircrafts were delivered on Monday and the remaining two will arrive in the Southeast Asian country in March, the official said.
KAI also signed a $260 million worth contract to export 8 more T-50TH to Thailand in July, last year.
It is the third time for KAI to deliver jets via a ferry flight in which a pilot delivers a new aircraft directly to the customer without using another means of transportation.
KAI delivered 15 T-50i aircrafts to Indonesia in 2014 and 12 FA-50PH jets to the Philippines in 2015, both via ferry flight.
T-50 aircrafts were first exported to Indonesia in 2011. A total of 64 T-50 aircrafts worth $2.9 billion have been exported so far to the Middle East and Southeast Asia. KAI is currently pushing to export T-50 advanced aircrafts to the United States, Botswana, and Argentina.
As of 2:10 p.m., shares of KAI were up 1.79 percent at 48,450 won ($45.5) on Tuesday.
By Moon Ji-woong and Lee Eun-joo
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