MyTravel Airways

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MyTravel Airways UK
IATA ICAO Callsign
Founded 1990 (as Airtours International)
Ceased operations 30 March 2008 (merged with Thomas Cook Airlines)
Hubs Belfast, Birmingham, Bristol, Cardiff, Glasgow, London Gatwick, Manchester, Newcastle, East Midlands
Headquarters Manchester, United Kingdom
Key people Frank Pullman (Managing Director), Steve Solomon (Director of Flight Operations), Martin Mahoney (Chief Pilot), Lucas Mollan (Technical Director and Managing Director of MTAE)

MyTravel Airways was a British scheduled and charter airline with headquarters in Manchester, England. It operated worldwide holiday charter services mainly for its parent company, the MyTravel Group.

The airline was founded in 1990 as Airtours International Airways. During 2007 the MyTravel Group agreed to merge with Thomas Cook AG, and on 30 March 2008, MyTravel Airways was fully integrated into Thomas Cook Airlines.

MyTravel Airways A/S was the Denmark-based sister airline of MyTravel Airways, which was re-branded Thomas Cook Airlines Scandinavia on 8 May 2008.


The Airtours tour operating company was founded by David Crossland and established its own in-house airline, Airtours International Airways, on 1 October 1990.[1] It started operations on 11 March 1991 flying McDonnell Douglas MD-80 aircraft to destinations throughout Europe.

Cardiff-based Aspro Holidays and their inhouse airline, Inter European Airways were acquired and integrated in November 1993 adding new aircraft types such as the Boeing 757 and Airbus A320 to the fleet. The MD83's were replaced in 1995-1996 with more Airbus A320's. In 1996 the parent company also acquired Danish charter airline Premiair. Airtours also had operations in Germany with airline FlyFTi,[1] operating Airbus A320s until this was merged back into the UK fleet during 2003.

In the 1990s Airtours added long haul capabilities, with the addition of the Boeing 767 and McDonnell Douglas DC-10, flying holiday makers to destinations including the Caribbean and the USA. More Airbus aircraft joined the fleet during the 1990s with Airbus A320s, Airbus A321s and Airbus A330s accompanying the fleet of Boeing 757s, Boeing 767s and DC-10s. In 1995, the airline began offering pre-bookable seats, meal choices and duty-free on its flights - a practice that was subsequently adopted by many other UK charter airlines. The Airbus A330-200 aircraft delivered to Airtours in 1999 featured improved passenger amenities over older long haul aircraft and offered Premium Economy cabins in the form of Premiair Gold, something the Boeing 767 and DC-10 did not offer at the time.[citation needed]

On 27 January 2002, Airtours International became the first airline to use the new Swanwick Air Traffic Centre, as flight AIH550 from Las Palmas to Birmingham was handed over to the new facility.[2]

Following the renaming of the Airtours Group to the MyTravel Group in February 2002, the Airtours International and Premiair operations were rebranded as MyTravel Airways with effect from 1 May 2002. In October 2002 MyTravel Airways launched its scheduled low-fare airline, MyTravelLite, but this was reintegrated in 2003.[1]

In common with airlines worldwide, MyTravel Airways saw a reduction in customers due to the effects of the September 11, 2001 attacks. Official statistics from the United Kingdom Civil Aviation Authority (see reference below) indicated that the number of passengers carried by MyTravel Airways UK increased from 7.21 million in 2001 to 7.52 million in 2002. However, the figure dropped to 4.38 million in 2005, due to the number of aircraft being reduced from 45 in early 2001 to 29 in 2005, as part of the restructuring of the wider MyTravel Group.

MyTravel Airways Airbus A320-200 at take-off

In late 2004 the last of the McDonnell Douglas DC-10s and the last Boeing 757 were withdrawn from the fleet. MyTravel Airways was the last British airline to operate DC-10s. In December 2005, MyTravel Aircraft Engineering (MTAE) became a wholly owned subsidiary of the MyTravel Group, based at Manchester Airport. The facility performed all light maintenance checks (up to 'C' Check) for MyTravel Airways and MyTravel Airways A/S, as well as work for third party airlines such as Skyservice, and has now been re-branded Thomas Cook Airlines Engineering following the merger.

MyTravel Aircraft Engineering Caribbean, part of MTAE had bases throughout the Caribbean in Cancún, Cozumel, Montego Bay, Newark, New Jersey and Sanford, Florida, as well as seasonal bases at various Spanish, Greek and Turkish airports as well as Jeddah for the Hajj operation. It handled more than 3500 aircraft for over 40 airlines a year.[citation needed]

Due to necessary consolidation within the UK IT market, MyTravel Group PLC and Thomas Cook AG agreed to merge in March 2007 to form Thomas Cook Group PLC. Under the merger, MyTravel Airways and Thomas Cook Airlines fleets became one and the airlines became Thomas Cook Airlines, operating under MyTravel's AOC. Thomas Cook Airlines subsequently changed their callsign from 'Topjet' to that of MyTravel's; 'Kestrel'. MyTravel's last flight operated on 30 March 2008.


MyTravel Airways Airbus A321 awaiting departure from Malta International Airport

Most flights were operated for MyTravel Group Tour Operators as MyTravel Airways was their in-house airline. Many routes to Canada were operated by MyTravel Airways on behalf of specialist Canadian Affair (now operated by Thomas Cook Airlines) and was the only British airline to fly to Djerba from Manchester Airport and Gatwick Airport:[3]


On 5 July 2007, a First Officer who was not an employee but was paying MyTravel to gain flight experience on their aircraft (pay-to-fly), landed an Airbus A320 heavily at Kos airport in Greece causing substantial damage to the main landing gear.[4] The report was critical of both the pilots training record and non-employees paying airlines to gain experience.

Former fleet[edit]

Since the formation of the airline as Airtours International Airways in 1990, MyTravel Airways has operated the following aircraft types:

MyTravel Airways Historical Fleet
Aircraft Operated Notes/Ref
Airbus A319-100 1
Airbus A320-200 9
Airbus A330-200 6
Boeing 737-800 1 Leased From XL Airways
Boeing 757-200 6
Boeing 767-300 3
McDonnell Douglas DC-10 4
Total 57


MyTravel Airways achieved several punctuality awards between 2005 and 2007.

  • Most Punctual UK Charter Airline - Summer 2006, Summer 2007 & Winter 2007/08
  • Most Improved UK Charter Airline for Punctuality - Summer 2005 & Summer 2006
  • CAA Air Transport Users Council - Most Punctual UK Charter Airline - Winter 2005/2006


  • Civil Aviation Authority UK Airline Statistics for 2001 and 2005; total passengers carried by UK airlines. Table 0.1.6
  • Air-Britain Airline Fleets 2001 London, 2001. ISBN 0-85130-296-3.
  • Air-Britain Airline Fleets 2005 London, 2005. ISBN 0-85130-357-9.

External links[edit]