as Britannia Airways
|Commenced operations||1 November 2008
as Thomson Airways
|Parent company||TUI Group|
|Headquarters||Registered office: Crawley
Head office: Luton
|Key people||John Murphy, Managing director|
Thomson Airways Limited is the world's largest charter airline, offering scheduled and charter flights from the United Kingdom and the Republic of Ireland to destinations in Europe, Africa, Asia and North America. The airline carried 10.5 million passengers in 2013, making it the third-largest UK airline by total passengers, after EasyJet and British Airways.
The airline was formed following the merger of the travel division of TUI AG and First Choice Holidays plc in September 2007 to form TUI Travel. The two companies' respective airlines, Thomsonfly and First Choice Airways, were merged under the former's Air Operator's Certificate in May 2008, and were rebranded as Thomson Airways on 1 November 2008. TUI Travel merged with TUI AG to form TUI Group in December 2014.
The registered office is at the TUI Travel House in Crawley, West Sussex but its head office is located in Wigmore House in Luton, Bedfordshire. Thomson Airways Limited holds a United Kingdom Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) Type A Operating Licence permitting it to carry passengers, cargo and mail on aircraft with 20 or more seats.
Thomson Airways has its origins in several predecessor airlines. Euravia, an airline which was founded in January 1962 was renamed Britannia Airways in December 1964. Orion Airways, founded in 1979 by Horizon Holidays and later owned by the large brewing firm Bass Brewery and InterContinental Hotels Group, was sold and merged into Britannia Airways in 1989. Britannia Airways was rebranded as Thomsonfly in May 2005. Finally, Air 2000 was founded in 1987, and which integrated the operations of Leisure International Airways in 1998, became First Choice Airways in 2004.
Thomsonfly and First Choice Airways merged following the merger of the travel division of TUI AG and First Choice Holidays PLC in September 2007. All flights operated under the Thomsonfly CAA Air Operator's Certificate from 1 May 2008. The Thomson Airways brand was launched for the combined airline on 1 November 2008, which became the world's largest charter airline.
The new brand retained the Thomsonfly colour scheme, and aircraft in the fleet were gradually repainted. Several First Choice Airways aircraft remained in the First Choice livery as they were due to be phased out of service. A new livery, named the "dreamliner" livery to coincide with the delivery of the Boeing 787 in 2013, was introduced in May 2012.
Thomson Airways became the first UK airline to take delivery of the Boeing 787, receiving the first aircraft in May 2013. Passenger services with the aircraft began on 21 June 2013 with a flight between London Gatwick and Menorca. Also in 2013, the parent group TUI Travel ordered 60 Boeing 737 MAX for delivery to group airlines.
Thomson Airways carried 10.5 million passengers during 2013, a 1.4% reduction compared with 2012.
Thomson Airways' largest base is at London-Gatwick, closely followed by Manchester with its third largest at Birmingham. Further aircraft are based at thirteen other UK airports. By Summer 2014, Belfast-International, Bournemouth, Edinburgh, Exeter and Leeds/Bradford are all served by a single based aircraft. Bases with two aircraft are at Bristol, Cardiff, Doncaster Sheffield, Glasgow and London-Stansted whilst East Midlands, London-Luton and Newcastle all have three. Some of these bases have additional aircraft through certain parts of the week to service long-haul flights.
Most scheduled flights operated by Thomson Airways are on behalf of tour operators. Certain seat contingents on these flights can be directly purchased. The airline offers a wide range of flights to holiday destinations at the Mediterranean, the Caribbean, and the Indian Ocean from a total of 20 airports across the United Kingdom. Additionally, seasonal charter routes are served.
As of April 2015, the Thomson Airways fleet consists of the following aircraft.
On short-haul and mid-haul flights Thomson Airways have a minimum 28" seat pitch.New Boeing 737-800 aircraft with Boeing's SKY Interior are being rolled out replacing older Boeing 757 aircraft. Alcoholic and soft drinks, sweet and savoury snacks can be purchased on board. Hot snack products from the in house range branded "the eatery" are available for purchase on board. Tax/duty-free perfumes, gifts, tobacco and spirits are available on most flights. A limited number of extra legroom seats can be purchased pre-travel.
On long-haul flights, the Economy Cabin (Economy Club) has a 32" standard seat pitch with a personal 7" widescreen TV (9" on 787 Dreamliner aircraft). Audio/visual on-demand in-flight entertainment is available as standard. Complimentary hot meals and a snack are served on all Thomson Airways long-haul flights. Complimentary Bar service on long haul flights (Thomson Holidays).
The Premium Economy Cabin (Premium Club) located at the front of the 767 and 787 aircraft have a 36"seat pitch (38" on the 787 Dreamliner) with wider leather seats and a personal 9" widescreen with on-demand entertainment system. Customers of the Premium Economy Cabin receive upgraded dining experience, complimentary drinks, an amenity kit including noise-reduction headphones for use in-flight and dedicated cabin crew including priority boarding/disembarking. From summer 2015 the Premium Economy cabin will be upgraded: Improved seats with more space and a bigger recline will be fitted and duvet and pillows will be available on night flights. 
The Thomson Airways Magazine in-flight is available to all customers in the seat pocket. In addition, "in-flight guide" is also available detailing entertainment and flight amenities available on board.
- Most Punctual UK Charter Airline – Summer 2009, Summer 2010, Summer 2011, Summer 2012 & Summer 2013 
- Winner of a Mercury Award in 2010
- World's Best Leisure Airline 2010, 2011, 2013 & 2014 – Skytrax
- First Choice ~ British Travel Awards 2012 :: Best Overall All-Inclusive Tour Operator
- Thomson ~ British Travel Awards 2012 :: Best Overall Adults Only Tour Operator
- First Choice ~ British Travel Awards 2012 :: Best Overall Tour Operator To East & Southeast Europe
- Thomson ~ British Travel Awards 2012 :: Best Overall Tour Operator to the Iberian Peninsula & Islands
- Thomson ~ British Travel Awards 2012 :: Best Overall Tour Operator To North Africa
- "IATA - Airline and Airport Code Search". iata.org. Retrieved 13 April 2015.
- Euravia (London) Ltd
- Thomson Airways CASA AOC
- UK CAA aircraft ownership details
- Company press release quoting MD
- "UK Airline Statistics | Data | Economic Regulation". UK CAA. 27 April 2015. Retrieved 27 April 2015.
- "Booking Conditions." Thomson Airways. Retrieved on 4 February 2011."Both Thomson Airways and TUI UK Limited have their Registered Office at TUI Travel House, Crawley Business Quarter, Fleming Way, Crawley RH10 9QL[...]"
- CAA operating licence
- Flight International article published 17 December 1964
- Company news archive
- New Thomson Airways brand launched
- "Boeing Delivers Thomson Airways' First 787 Dreamliner". Manchester, UK: Boeing UK. 31 May 2013. Retrieved 24 June 2013.
- "London Gatwick welcomes first 'hub-busting' Dreamliner (> Media Centre > News)". Gatwick Airport. 21 June 2013. Retrieved 24 June 2013.
- TUI shareholders approve 737 Max order
- "GINFO Search Results". Civil Aviation Authority. 30 June 2012. Retrieved 1 July 2012.
- "Wigmore House". Duncan-Welch & Co. Retrieved 4 January 2011.
- "United Kingdom Civil Aircraft Register". Civil Aviation Authority. 17 April 2015. Retrieved 19 April 2015.
- Flightontime.info – Summer 2009 UK Charter Airline Delays & Punctuality
- Flightontime.info – Summer 2010 UK Charter Airline Delays & Punctuality
- Flightontime.info – Summer 2011 UK Charter Airline Delays & Punctuality
- Flightontime.info – Summer 2012 UK Charter Airline Delays & Punctuality
- Flightontime.info – Summer 2013 UK Charter Airline Delays & Punctuality
- "Thomson Airways repeat success, named as World's Best Leisure Airline". Skytrax. Retrieved 1 January 2012.
Media related to Thomson Airways at Wikimedia Commons