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, often referred to as Thomson, 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 10.6 million passengers in 2015, 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.
Due to the merger and formation of the TUI Group, all of the group's airlines are expected to be rebranded under the new TUI Group brand starting from 2015. However Fritz Joussen has stated that this rebrand could take five to ten years to complete.
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 "Dynamic Wave" (which will also be applied on Thomson Cruises ships), 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 10.6 million passengers during 2015, a 2.4% increase compared with 2014.
On 13 May 2015, it was announced by the TUI Group that all five of TUI's airline subsidiaries will be named TUI, whilst keeping their separate Air Operators Certificate, taking over three years to complete. Thomson will be the last airline to be completed around 2017. Whilst a full rebrand has not yet taken place, it has begun, starting with the application of the 'TUI' titles to its 737-800, 757-200, 787-8 and 787-9 fleet.
Their sister company, Thomson Holidays, has ceased using the 'Thomson' and 'First Choice' brands overseas. Instead, overseas teams operate the brand 'TUI' for trips booked with Thomson, First Choice, Skytours and Falcon (Ireland). This applies to all transfer, excursion and representative operations.
In December 2016, Thomson Holidays launched their final television advertisement using the 'Thomson' brand, before integrating into the 'TUI' brand.
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 June 2015, Belfast-International, Bournemouth, Edinburgh, Exeter and Leeds/Bradford are all served by a single based aircraft. Bases with two aircraft are at Cardiff, Doncaster Sheffield, Glasgow and London-Stansted whilst Bristol, 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. The airline offers flights to destinations around the Mediterranean, the Caribbean and the Indian Ocean from 19 airports in the United Kingdom. Additionally, seasonal charter routes are served.
As of January 2017, the Thomson Airways fleet consists of the following aircraft.
|Boeing 787-9||1||3||63||282||345||Deliveries from 2017 to 2019|
TUI has 50 737-8 MAX's and 20 737-9 MAX's on order for the group, some of these will be used for the airline to modernise the fleet and replace older aircraft mainly the 757's in the fleet. Thomson Airways is due to receive 47 of these aircraft by 2020. The deliveries of the new aircraft will commence in 2018.
- Airbus A320-200 - Inherited from First Choice Airways
- Airbus A321-200 - Inherited from First Choice Airways
- Boeing 737-300 - Inherited from Thomsonfly
- Most Punctual UK Charter Airline – Summer 2009, Summer 2010, Summer 2011, Summer 2012, Summer 2013, Summer 2014  and Summer 2015 
- Winner of a Mercury Award for Skills Development in 2010
- "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 Data". UK Civil Aviation Authority. 1 June 2016. Retrieved 1 June 2016.
- http://www.marketingmagazine.co.uk/article/1347101/thomson-first-choice-axed-part-brand-consolidation-tui-name Thomson Merger
- Tui outlines plan for global rebrand
- "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[...]"
- Flight International article published 17 December 1964
- Company news archive
- New Thomson Airways brand launched
- "THOMSON CRUISES UNVEILS PLANS FOR NEW SHIP DISCOVERY - TUITravel Media Centre - Thomson". TUITravel Media Centre - Thomson. 2015-11-13. Retrieved 2016-05-08.
- "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
- TUI Rebrand
- "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. 12 January 2017. Retrieved 13 January 2017.
- "Family booths and couple pods are the future of holiday flying says Thomson Airways as it unveils plans for childfree zones on flights". Retrieved 2016-08-01.
- 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
- Flightontime.info – Summer 2014 UK Charter Airline Delays & Punctuality
- Flightontime.info – Summer 2015 UK Charter Airline Delays & Punctuality
- Thomson Holidays -Thomson Airways wins pretigious Mercury award
Media related to Thomson Airways at Wikimedia Commons