TUI Airways, formerly Thomson Airways and often referred to as TUI UK, 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 11.2 million passengers in 2017, making it the third-largest UK airline by total passengers, after EasyJet and British Airways.
as Britannia Airways
|Commenced operations||1 November 2008 |
as Thomson Airways
2 October 2017
as TUI Airways
|Company slogan||Discover Your Smile|
|Parent company||TUI Group|
|Headquarters||Registered office: Crawley|
Head office: Luton
|Key people||Dawn Wilson (Managing Director)|
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. TUI 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.
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.
TUI Airways officially changed its legal name from Thomson Airways to TUI Airways on 2 October 2017. This was in line with sister companies TUI fly Belgium, TUI fly Deutschland, TUI fly Netherlands and TUI fly Nordic. All airlines in the group, excluding Corsair International, are now rebranded to TUI.
TUI 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.
TUI 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, now known as TUI Group, ordered 70 Boeing 737 MAX for delivery to group airlines.
TUI 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. TUI Airways was the last airline to be completed in late 2017. The rebrand began in mid-2016, with the addition of the new 'TUI' titles to its fleet.
In December 2016, Thomson Holidays launched their final television advertisement using the 'Thomson' brand, before integrating into the 'TUI' brand. During the rebrand in 2017, the "TOMSON" callsign was dropped and replaced with "TUI AIR".
In May 2017, the brand TUI Airways began to be used in several areas and was implemented on all flight tracker applications. Most of the aircraft had been branded with 'TUI' titles and onboard items such as glasses and napkins carried the new brand. Thomson Airways officially changed its legal name to TUI Airways on 2 October 2017. TUI's sister company, TUI UK (formerly Thomson Holidays), has ceased using the 'Thomson' brand, adopting the TUI UK brand on 18 October 2017.
TUI Airways' largest base is at London-Gatwick, closely followed by Manchester with its third largest at Birmingham. Further aircraft are based at fourteen other UK airports. Bristol, East Midlands, London-Luton and Newcastle each have three aircraft. Cardiff, Doncaster Sheffield, Glasgow and London-Stansted have two, whilst Belfast-International, Bournemouth, Edinburgh, Exeter, Leeds/Bradford, Norwich Airport and Aberdeen Airport are all served by a single based aircraft.
This has remained largely consistent for many years, however, from summer 2018 both Glasgow and London-Luton will lose an aircraft (to become one and two based respectively) whilst a new base will open at Aberdeen with a single aircraft and operations are increased at larger bases such as London-Gatwick. Some of these bases may have additional aircraft through certain parts of the week to service long-haul flights. From summer 2019 Glasgow will go back as having two based aircraft and Leeds/Bradford will no longer be served.
Most scheduled flights operated by TUI Airways are on behalf of tour operators. The airline offers flights to destinations around the Mediterranean, the Caribbean and the Indian Ocean from 19 base airports in the United Kingdom. Additionally, seasonal charter routes are served from Copenhagen, Dublin, Helsinki, Oslo and Stockholm.
As of June 2019, the TUI Airways fleet consists of the following aircraft:
|Airbus A321-200||2||—||—||179||179||Leased from Olympus Airways|
|Boeing 737 MAX 8||—||50||—||189||189||Six aircraft stored due to international groundings|
|Boeing 737 MAX 10||—||14||TBA||—|
|Boeing 757-200||12||—||—||221||221||Retirement from 2018 delayed due to MAX groundings|
|Boeing 767-300ER||4||—||—||328||328||Replacement by 787-9 begins in 2020|
|Airbus A320-200||2008||2012||Inherited from First Choice Airways|
|Airbus A321-200||2008||2013||Inherited from First Choice Airways|
|Boeing 737-300||2008||2012||Inherited from Thomsonfly|
- Winner of a Mercury Award for Skills Development in 2010
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