The Blue Diamond Affair 30 Years Later: How Saudi Arabia and Thailand Finally Sorted It Out

The Blue Diamond Affair, 30 years later, is finally resolved as the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and Thailand have resolved their diplomatic issues.


Saudi Arabia and Thailand have had a frayed for over thirty years. The Blue Diamond Affair rattled the two countries when a domestic worker from Thailand took various precious gems and jewelry from the Saudi Royals. When Saudi Arabia demanded they be returned, they were given fakes. This, along with various mysterious deaths of some Saudi investigators, led the countries to sever diplomatic relationships. That was in 1989. 

Thai Airways A330

Thai Airways A330

The Blue Diamond Affair 30 Years Later The Two Countries Have Resolved Their Issues

This week Saudi Arabia and Thailand finally worked out their diplomatic spat. The Thai Prime Minister visited the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia as a sign of normalized diplomatic ties. As part of the thawing, the two countries have agreed to cooperate on the tourism, petrochemical, defense industries. Thai Prime Minister Prayut Chan-ocha expressed sincere regret over the diplomatic spat and what happened in 1989. The renewed economic and diplomatic ties will develop further economic cooperation between the two nations and bring job opportunities for thousands of Saudi and Thai nationals. 

Saudi Arabian Airlines 747

Saudi Arabian Airlines 747

Saudia to Launch Thailand Flights

As a show of the diplomatic makeup, Saudia, the state airline of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, will resume flights to Thailand. The flights will begin in May. Presumably, Saudia will fly to Bangkok. Schedules have not been released. The new flights will be the first direct link between the countries since the diplomatic spat started. 


Will Thai Airways Follow?

Noticeably absent from the press release was Thai Airways. The Thailand flag carrier is currently undergoing a process of reorganization; any major long-haul flight would likely need to be approved by the airline’s administrators. (Administration is a common name for the equivalent Chapter 11 bankruptcy proceedings common here in the United States.) I would not be surprised if Thai does eventually launch flights to Saudi Arabia. Flights between Bangkok and Riyadh or Jeddah (for the Umrah) could be successful. There are about 7.5 million Muslims in Thailand. Bilateral trade and tourism could fuel two flights between Bangkok and Riyadh. 

Thai Airways 747

Thai Airways 747

Landing Thoughts

I always love to see when countries resolve their issues diplomatically. Although the current world theater makes it seem that diplomacy is ineffective, there are countless examples where cool and level-headed minds overcome differences. Saudia will likely launch flights to Bangkok on one of their 787-9s or their high-density 777s. Thai Airways could launch a tag-along flight on one of their current long-haul routes to the Middle East. The Blue Diamond Affair 30 years later is finally resolved.


H/T: BBC World News

Here is a list of all my flight reviews: The Millennial Traveler Flight Reviews

Here is a list of all my lounge reviews: The Millennial Traveler Lounge Reviews

If you want to stay up to date with the latest airline news follow me on Twitter, Facebook or LinkedIn!

Also follow Travel Update and Boarding Area on Twitter!