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Thomsonfly logo.png
IATA ICAO Callsign
Founded 2004
Ceased operations 1 November 2008 (merged with First Choice Airways to form Thomson Airways)

Manchester Airport
London Gatwick Airport
Birmingham Airport

focus_cities=Belfast International Airport
Newcastle Airport
Cardiff Airport
East Midlands Airport
London Luton Airport
London Stansted Airport
Doncaster Sheffield Airport
Bournemouth Airport
Glasgow Airport
Alliance TUI Airlines
Fleet size 46
Destinations 87
Company slogan Don't just travel, travel with a smile
Parent company TUI Travel PLC
Headquarters Luton, United Kingdom
Key people Chris Browne MD)
John Murphy(DFO)
Dawn Wilson (Direcr of Ground Operations)

Thomsonfly was a British charter and scheduled airline. Thomsonfly was the first stage of TUI AG's plans to expand its business within TUI UK prior to September 2007. After TUI UK merged with First Choice Holidays in September 2007, it became part of TUI Travel PLC. The new holiday company continued with both in-house airlines (Thomsonfly and First Choice Airways) through Winter 2007 and Summer 2008 until the two were merged on 1 November 2008 as Thomson Airways.

Thomsonfly was the largest charter airline in the world, and also operated scheduled services to 20 European cities. The airline had several bases including Birmingham, Bournemouth, Cardiff, Coventry, Glasgow, Liverpool, London Gatwick, Belfast, London Luton, Manchester, Newcastle and Doncaster-Sheffield.

Thomsonfly Limited held a United Kingdom Civil Aviation Authority Type A Operating Licence permitting it to carry passengers, cargo and mail on aircraft with 20 or more seats.[1]


A Thomsonfly Boeing 767-300ER takes off from Glasgow International Airport, Scotland. (2006)

Thomsonfly traces its roots to its parent airline, Britannia Airways, founded by Ted Langton. The airline began as Euravia in 1962. The name was changed to Britannia Airways and remained until December 2004. Britannia grew rapidly when it acquired Boeing 737-200 aircraft, and was the European launch customer for the Boeing 767 and then moved to an all-Boeing 767 and 757 fleet in the mid-1990s, with a total fleet of 45 aircraft by 2004.

Thomson Holidays subsequently embraced a web-oriented rebranding and used the Thomsonfly name to include all of the UK flying operations, with the larger Britannia Airways rebranded as Thomsonfly in 2005.

Scheduled operations began on 31 March 2004 with four Boeing 737-500 aircraft, from a new passenger terminal at Coventry Airport. The airline became involved in controversy when it took over ownership of the airport lease. A number of local residents and Warwick District Council mounted a campaign against regular passenger flights from the airport, which had been used for both passenger and freight aircraft. The planning case was contentious and lengthy, and Thomsonfly continued to operate from Coventry awaiting the outcome of the case. Planning permission was granted for a larger passenger terminal and the ownership of the lease has passed to CAFCO, an airport and property development company with no links to TUI.

A Thomsonfly Boeing 737-800 takes off from London Luton, England. (2007)

On 28 April 2005, Thomsonfly became the first airline to fly from Robin Hood Airport Doncaster Sheffield. Thomsonfly was also the first airline to operate direct long haul services from the airport. The airline remains the dominant carrier at Robin Hood Airport, Coventry Airport and Bournemouth Airport, where a base was also established.

Thomsonfly was the best on-time charter airline in 2004 as measured by the Air Transport Users' Council and also won the 'Travel Weekly' best UK charter airline award for 2004. The airline is part of TUI Airline Management (TAM).

In November 2008, Thomsonfly withdrew all flights operating from Coventry Airport, leaving the airport with no scheduled flights. This was due to financial conditions and that there had been repeated failed attempts to build a permanent terminal at the airport.

Merger with First Choice Airways[edit]

In March 2008, the tourism division of the airline's parent group TUI AG, merged with First Choice Holidays PLC, forming the new company TUI Travel. The company's head office is in Crawley, West Sussex although the UK and Ireland head office is in Luton.

From 1 May 2008, pilots flew both Thomsonfly and First Choice aircraft, but cabin crew remained on their original aircraft.[citation needed] Thomsonfly Limited changed its name to Thomson Airways Limited in October 2008 and the Thomsonfly operating certificate was changed to Thomson Airways with effect from 31 October 2008. On 1 November 2008, Thomsonfly and First Choice Airways both rebranded their operations as Thomson Airways. The two airlines were merged with a fleet of 75 aircraft.



A Thomsonfly Boeing 757-200 landing at Bristol Airport, England (2007).

In October 2008, the Thomsonfly fleet comprised:[2]

Thomsonfly Fleet
Aircraft Total Passengers[3] Routes
Boeing 737-300 10 148 Short and medium haul
Boeing 737-800 13 189 Short haul
Boeing 757-200 14 235 Short and medium haul
Boeing 767-200ER 2 290 Short, medium and long haul
Boeing 767-300ER 7 283 Short, medium and long haul
Total 46

It also operated Boeing 737-500s during operations, but they were retired before the merger.

Fleet gallery[edit]


Number of Passengers[4] Number of Flights[5] Load Factor[6]
2005 9,505,928 52,461 80.1%
2006 9,617,416 54,063 82.6%
2007 9,444,973 54,515 84.6%
Source: UK Civil Aviation Authority [1]


  • Best Leisure Airline 2011 (Skytrax Awards)
  • AUC Crown Awards: Most Punctual Charter Carrier - Summer 2004
  • Travel & Tourism Web Awards: Best Airline - 2004
  • Telegraph Travel Awards: Best Charter Airline - 2003


  1. ^ CAA operating licence
  2. ^ CAA Aircraft Register
  3. ^ Thomsonfly Fleet
  4. ^ Number of Passengers uplifted on both scheduled and non-scheduled flights.
  5. ^ Number of Flights represents total flights during that year.
  6. ^ Load Factor represents number of seat-km used as a proportion of number of seat-km available.

External links[edit]

now back in service