Plane’s altimeter problem delays PM’s trip to Phuket half an hour

Prime Minister Gen Prayut Chan-o-cha and his cabinet ministers were forced to switch an aircraft for travel to Phuket this morning after it has technical problem on its cockpit measurement instrument.

Gen Prayut and his team were scheduled to fly in a Brazilian Embraer No 1084 jet to Phuket from the airfield of the Army Movement Centre at Don Mueang to preside over the opening of the international terminal building at Phuket International Airport this morning and return to Bangkok on the same day at 6.45pm.

But the jet plane was reported to have trouble on its altimeter in the cockpitl at 7.00am, forcing the centre to replace it with another Ambraer No 1124 instead.

The incident caused a half an hour delay of the trip.

Accompanying the prime minister to Phuket included his two deputy prime ministers Admiral Narong Pipatanasai, Dr Somkid Jatusripitak, Interior Minister Gen Anupong Paochinda, Agriculture Minister Gen Chatchai Sarikulya, and the prime minister's secretary-general Gen Vilas Arunsri.

After opening the terminal building, the prime minister will also chair a meeting of the joint public/private sector committee with local committee in the South before returning to Bangkok at 6.45pm today.

Thailand purchased a number of Embraer jet planes for use in transporting civilian and military personnel in 2009.

The order added to Thailand's purchase of two other ERJ 135 airplanes, one of which was used for the Royal Thai Army and the other for the Royal Thai Navy, according to the Brazilian firm Embraer, the third largest commercial aircraft manufacturer in the world, behind Airbus and Boeing.

Source: Thai Public Broadcasting Service (Thai PBS)