Thomas Cook Airlines

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Thomas Cook Airlines
Thomas Cook Airlines Logo.png
Founded 30 March 2008
AOC # 549
Operating bases
Fleet size 30
Destinations 95[1]
Company slogan Let's Go!
Parent company Thomas Cook Group
Headquarters Manchester, England
Key people Christoph Debus (MD)
Cor Vrieswijk (Head of Operations)
Paul Hutchings (DFO)

Thomas Cook Airlines Limited, styled as Thomas Cook, is a British charter airline based in Manchester, England. It serves main holiday resorts worldwide, from its main bases at Manchester and London Gatwick Airport. It also operates services from eight other bases around the United Kingdom; Belfast International Airport, Birmingham Airport, Bristol Airport, Cardiff International Airport, East Midlands Airport, Glasgow International Airport, London Stansted Airport and Newcastle Airport.

The airline carried just over 6 million passengers during 2013,[2] and operates a fleet of around 30 Airbus and Boeing aircraft during the peak summer holiday season, making it the sixth largest UK airline by passengers carried.[2] The airline will standardise its narrow body fleet, replacing Boeing 757s with Airbus A320 family aircraft over five years beginning in 2012.[3]

Thomas Cook Airlines Limited holds a United Kingdom Civil Aviation Authority Type A Operating Licence, permitting it to carry passengers, cargo and mail on aircraft with 20 or more seats.[4]


Following the merger between Thomas Cook AG and MyTravel Group PLC to form Thomas Cook Group plc in June 2007, Thomas Cook Airlines was formed on 30 March 2008 by the merger of Thomas Cook Airlines UK Ltd and MyTravel Airways. The airline commenced operations in time for the summer 2008 season, with a fleet of Airbus A320, A321 and A330 aircraft along with Boeing 757 and 767 aircraft.

Thomas Cook Airlines UK Ltd[edit]

Thomas Cook aircraft at Manchester Airport

The original Thomas Cook Airlines was established on 1 September 1999 and started operations on 27 March 2000. It was created as JMC Airlines through the merger of Flying Colours and Caledonian Airways, following the integration of the Carlson Leisure group with Thomas Cook & Son, which brought both airlines under common ownership in October 1999. Previously in 1998. Flying Colours was also integrated by Airworld Aviation Ltd into the airline. JMC Airlines was renamed as Thomas Cook Airlines UK on 31 March 2003.[5]

MyTravel Airways[edit]

MyTravel Airways was founded in 1990 as Airtours International Airways, which also acquired Inter European Airways in 1993 and Scandinavian charter airline Premiair in 1996 prior to re-branding as MyTravel in 2002.

Merger with other Thomas Cook Group Airlines[edit]

On 4 February 2013, Thomas Cook Group announced that Thomas Cook Airlines, Thomas Cook Airlines Belgium and Condor would be merged into a single operating segment of the Thomas Cook Group.[6]

The Condor flight number is now code-sharing on selected Thomas Cook Airlines flights between selected UK airports and the US airports of Orlando International Airport and Las Vegas McCarran Airport


The airline operates worldwide charter flights to and from the United Kingdom for a number of tour operators; however, Thomas Cook Tour Operations is the main user of the airline.


Boeing 757-200 at Lanzarote Airport
Airbus A330-200 at Manchester Airport

As of May 2014, the Thomas Cook Airlines fleet consists of the following aircraft:[7]

Thomas Cook Airlines Fleet
Aircraft In Fleet Orders Passengers[8] Notes
Airbus A321-200 11 20 214 To be split between the Thomas Cook Group, 9 aircraft to be leased [9][10]
Airbus A330-200 4 1 323 To be delivered May 2015
Boeing 757-200 10 0 235 Oldest aircraft being replaced by Airbus A321-200's - one to be retired Jan 2015
2 aircraft wet-leased to and branded WestJet in a 211-seat configuration[11]
Boeing 757-300 2 0 280
Boeing 767-300ER 3 0 326 To be transferred to Condor at the end of summer 2014
Total 30 21

In addition to leases to and from other group airlines like Thomas Cook Scandinavia and Thomas Cook Airlines Belgium the airline normally leases or sub-leases aircraft to other operators during the winter season in particular to Canadian inclusive-tour operators such as WestJet.

In December 2010 the Thomas Cook Group announced that they had chosen the Airbus A320 family to replace its 71-strong narrow body fleet of aircraft across the four group airlines, including Thomas Cook Airlines, as part of a five year fleet renewal programme.[3] An initial order by the Group for 12 Airbus A321 aircraft was confirmed in January 2011, with first deliveries expected to commence in late 2013.[12]


Airbus A321 in the new "Sunny Heart" livery

In 2003, all Thomas Cook aircraft received a livery of white, with the yellow and blue Thomas Cook logo on the tail of each aircraft. A light blue covered the underside of the aircraft. Three aircraft received a special Egypt tourism livery that covers the rear of the fuselage, this applied to two Boeing 757-200 aircraft and one Airbus A321.

The Thomas Cook Group introduced a new brand symbol, known as the "Sunny Heart", on 1 October 2013. The fleet are due to receive a new white, yellow and grey livery, featuring the new symbol on the tail fins.[13]

On board service[edit]

Drinks and snacks can be purchased on board from the Café Cloud menu. In-flight meals, champagne and a selection of gifts can be pre-ordered at the time of booking a flight. Since May 2012, the in-flight meals available on board Thomas Cook flights are designed exclusively by celebrity chef James Martin. Passengers who have not pre-ordered a meal can buy a selection of Look what we've found meals from the cabin crew.

Entertainment is only available on selected services operated by A330 and B757 aircraft. It has been removed from the Airbus A320/321 aircraft although the new delivery A321 aircraft will feature state of the art entertainment systems with a potential for onboard wi-fi capabilities. A copy of the Thomas Cook Airlines magazine Travel can be found in all seat pockets, alongside the Emporium brochure, which details all the tax/duty-free products Thomas Cook Airlines stock on board.

Personal seat-back entertainment is available on the A330-200 aircraft, serving long-haul and selected short-haul routes.

Cabin Interior[edit]

The aircraft cabins feature grey and dark leather seats with blue smile and blue carpets. On the Airbus A320/321 and Boeing 757 there is 28/29" seat pitch.

Economy class cabin of a Thomas Cook Airlines Airbus A330-200

On short and medium-haul flights the Airbus A320, A321 and Boeing 757 aircraft are used.

The Boeing 767 is also used on some short and medium-haul routes, and operates in an all economy configuration with a 30" seat pitch. This aircraft can be used on longhaul routes when and if additional capacity is needed.

The Airbus A330 aircraft is used primarily on long-haul routes and features seat-back entertainment in both Premium economy and Economy class cabins. Economy offers a 33" seat pitch (30" on selected aircraft and 31" on newer aircraft with a wider 2-4-2 setup) in a 3-3-3 setup and Premium Economy offers around 36"(90 cm) of seat pitch[14] with wider seats in a 2-3-2 setup.

The new Thomas Cook A330 - 200 aircraft features blue seats, the same as the A321 just with adjustable headrests, and the seats with built in IFE, better than the old system. Premium Economy will be featured on these aircraft starting May 2015.[15] The seats will have the same pitch, width and setup as on the old A330's, but with upgraded service than in economy class.

The Thomas Cook Boeing 757 - 300 aircraft (Thomas Cook only have two of this type of aircraft) does have IFE capabilities but Thomas Cook choose not to operate IFE on most short/medium haul flights, but occasionally playing the "Thomas Cook Radio". The seats on these aircraft do not recline and they are not very comfortable. The seats are not as cramped as they used to be but it feels as if you are back at school, sitting on plastic chairs, the TCX seats do have padding but not much. Also, the tray table is very small but you get a fair bit of legroom thanks to the shape if the back of the chairs.


Thomas Cook Airlines carried around 6.1 million passengers during 2013, a 10.3% reduction compared with 2012.[2]

Year Total passengers Total flights Load factor Passenger Change YoY
2005* 9,320,817 47,287 89.9%
2006* 8,441,276 42,182 89.0% Decrease009.4%
2007* 8,528,655 43,013 87.9% Increase001.0%
2008 8,315,327 42,410 90.0% Decrease002.5%
2009 8,202,534 38,849 92.0% Decrease001.4%
2010 8,120,815 37,571 93.1% Decrease001.0%
2011 7,969,693 36,103 93.3% Decrease001.9%
2012 6,783,661 32,109 94.1% Decrease014.9%
2013 6,084,315 28,438 93.1% Decrease010.3%
* Data for 2005 to 2007 includes MyTravel Airways
Source: UK Civil Aviation Authority


  • Silver Award - Most Environmentally Responsible Airline 2008 [16]
  • Runner-Up UK Charter Airline for Punctuality - Summer 2006[17]
  • Most Punctual UK Charter Airline - Summer 2002 & Summer 2003[17]
  • Most Punctual UK Charter Airline - Winter 2002/03, Winter 2003/04, Winter 2008/09 & Winter 2009/10[17]


External links[edit]