as Britannia Airways
|Commenced operations||1 November 2008
as Thomson Airways
|Parent company||TUI Group|
|Headquarters||Registered office: Crawley
Head office: Luton
|Key people||Chris Browne, 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.
Due to the merger and formation of the TUI Group, all of the groups 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 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.
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 2018.
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. 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 July 2015, the Thomson Airways fleet consists of the following aircraft.
|Boeing 737 MAX||—||47||—||TBA||TBA|
Cabins & Service
[Seating] On short-haul and mid-haul flights Thomson Airways have a minimum 28"-30" seat pitch on all standard seats. A limited number of extra space / legroom seats can be purchased pre-travel through the 'MyThomson' web page or through your booked tour operator.
[Service] "the eatery" is the name of the onboard menu. There is a wide range of hot and cold drinks, sweet and savory snacks and hot food items to purchase. "Inflight" Is the name of the Thomson Airways onboard magazine. It features travel articles, destination information and the full list of the onboard Tax-free/Duty-free shopping range. This include perfumes, gifts, collectables and last minute travel essentials (Plus Tobacco and spirits on Non-EU flights). On Cape Verde flights a complimentary light meal is offered to all customers alongside "the eatery" menu. Inflight Entertainment is offered on flights to Egypt operated by the 787-8
[Economy Club] On long-haul flights, the Economy Cabin (Economy Club) has a minimum 32" seat pitch on comfortable leather seats. A personal 7" widescreen TV (9" on 787 Dreamliner aircraft) with audio/visual on-demand in-flight entertainment is available as standard. Headphones are provided or you can use your own personal ones. A complimentary 3-course hot meal service and a snack before landing is offered to all customers on all Thomson Airways long-haul flights. A full complimentary bar service (excluding Champagne) is offered to all customers booked via a TUI Group company. Pillows and blankets are provided on all night flights.
[Premium Club] The Premium Economy Cabin (Premium Club) located at the front of the 767 and 787 aircraft have a 36"-38" seat pitch. It features wider leather seats with an increased recline and a larger personal 9" widescreen TV - Audio/visual on-demand entertainment is standard. Noise cancelling headphones are provided along with an amenity kit. Premium Club customers receive an upgraded 4-course main meal dining experience with usually a hot snack before arrival. Complimentary drinks are available throughout the flight. A duvet and pillow will be available on night flights.
The Thomson Airways Magazine "in-flight" is available to all customers in the seat pocket with a range of articles and including the onboard Tax-free/Duty-free shopping range. In addition, "in-flight guide" is also available on long-haul flights detailing the entertainment and flight amenities available on board.
- Most Punctual UK Charter Airline – Summer 2009, Summer 2010, Summer 2011, Summer 2012, Summer 2013 and Summer 2014 
- 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 Statistics | Data | Economic Regulation". UK CAA. 27 April 2015. Retrieved 27 April 2015.
- http://www.marketingmagazine.co.uk/article/1347101/thomson-first-choice-axed-part-brand-consolidation-tui-name Thomson Merger
- "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
- 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. 21 June 2015. Retrieved 22 June 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
- Flightontime.info – Summer 2014 UK Charter Airline Delays & Punctuality
Media related to Thomson Airways at Wikimedia Commons