|Founded||1962 as Britannia Airways|
|Commenced operations||1 November 2008 (as Thomson Airways)|
|Parent company||TUI Travel|
|Headquarters||Registered office: Crawley, UK
Head office: Luton, UK
Carl Gissing (Director of Customer Services)
John Murphy (Director of Flight Operations)Jason Mahoney (Director of Engineering)
Thomson Airways Limited is the world's largest charter airline, offering scheduled and charter flights from the United Kingdom and Republic of Ireland to destinations in Europe, Africa, Asia and North America. The airline is a subsidiary of TUI Travel, which was formed by the merger of the travel division of TUI AG and First Choice Holidays plc in September 2007. The two companies' respective airlines, Thomsonfly and First Choice Airways, were merged under the former's Air Operator's Certificate from May 2008, and were rebranded as Thomson Airways on 1 November 2008.
The airline carried 10.7 million passengers in 2012, making it the third-largest UK airline by total passengers, after EasyJet and British Airways. 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 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.
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. Thomson Airways also serves a much smaller network at Durham Tees Valley, the only UK airport is serves without a based aircraft. Its services are operated by the aircraft based at Leeds/Bradford, meaning a smaller presence at Leeds/Bradford than the typical single aircraft base, making it Thomson's smallest base airport.
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 24 airports across the United Kingdom. Additionally, seasonal charter routes are served.
As of April 2014, the Thomson Airways fleet consists of the following aircraft.
Short-haul: On short-haul and mid-haul flights Thomson Airways have a min 28" seat pitch. New Boeing 737-800 aircraft with SKY Interior are being rolled out replacing older 757, and all legacy Airbus fleets from 2011 onwards. Alcoholic and soft drinks, sweet and savoury snacks can be purchased on board. Hot cafe style products branded "the eatery" are available for purchase on board. On 1 November 2011, traditional in-flight TV/movie/audio entertainment onboard short and medium-haul flights ended. Tax/duty-free perfumes, gifts, tobacco and spirits are available on most flights. A limited number of extra legroom seats can be purchased prior to travel through various channels and opportunities.
Long-haul: On long-haul flights, the Economy Cabin (Economy Club) has a 33" standard seat pitch with a personal 7" widescreen TV. From May 2013, 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. Both alcoholic and soft drinks, along with additional snack items may be purchased on board.
The Premium Economy Cabin (Premium Club) at the front of the 767-300 aircraft have a 36/37" seat pitch with wider leather seats and a personal 9" widescreen with on-demand entertainment system. Guests in the Premium Economy Cabin receive upgraded meals, complimentary drinks, an amenity kit and dedicated cabin crew.
Thomson Airways Magazine inflight is available to all customers in the seat pocket. In addition, "inflight guide" is also available containing entertainment and flight amenities available on board.
Thomson Airways carried 10.7 million passengers during 2012, a 3.1% reduction compared with 2011.
- Most Punctual UK Charter Airline – Summer 2009, Summer 2010, Summer 2011 & Summer 2012
- Winner of a Mercury Award in 2010
- World's Best Leisure Airline 2010 & 2011 – 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
- Euravia (London) Ltd
- Thomson Airways CASA AOC
- UK CAA aircraft ownership details
- Company press release quoting MD
- Carl Gissing (Director of Customer Service) LinkedIn profile
- BALPA news article quoting John Murphy, Director of Flight Operations
- "UK Airline Statistics | Data | Economic Regulation". UK CAA. 19 April 2010. Retrieved 1 May 2013.
- "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.
- "GINFO Search Results". Civil Aviation Authority. 30 June 2012. Retrieved 1 July 2012.
- "Wigmore House". Duncan-Welch & Co. Retrieved 4 January 2011.
- Civil Aviation Authority Aircraft Register – Thomson Airways
- TUI shareholders approve 737 Max order
- 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
- "Thomson Airways repeat success, named as World's Best Leisure Airline". Skytrax. Retrieved 1 January 2012.
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