UK long-haul charter carrier Thomas Cook Airlines has announced it will launch twice-weekly services from Manchester Airport in the UK to Los Angeles and Boston in May 2016.
In 2016, also, Thomas Cook Airlines will increase its service frequency on its Manchester-Orlando route to daily service for the peak summer season.
The carrier will also increase its service frequency on each of its Manchester-New York JFK and Manchester-Las Vegas routes to six round-trips a week in 2016.
“Based on our relationship with Manchester Airports Group, we will continue to grow passenger numbers by over 20 per cent, including further developing our long haul network by 50 per cent in summer 2016,” says Christoph Debus, chief airlines and hotels officer for Thomas Cook Group, the parent of Thomas Cook Airlines.
“With Manchester as a hub for our airlines across Europe as a gateway to the USA, today’s announcement of new routes to Los Angeles and Boston is great news for our customers with even more choice from outside London,” adds Debus.
“With over 22 million people living within our two hour catchment, two full length runways and all-time record passenger numbers, Manchester Airport is, and will continue to have, the available capacity and demand to meet the needs of our catchment that extends as far north as Scotland and South to the Midlands,” says Ken O’Toole, managing director of Manchester Airport.
Thomas Cook began serving both New York JFK and Miami International Airport from Manchester Airport last weekend, using aircraft from its newly refurbished Airbus A330-200 fleet.
The carrier has also announced it will base an additional A330-200 at Manchester Airport in 2016, increasing its fleet of A330s based at the airport to six, which in the summer 2015 season will serve six U.S. destinations, three destinations in Cuba ‒ Cayo Coco, Holguin and Varadero ‒ and one destination (Punta Cana) in the Dominican Republic.
Additionally, Thomas Cook Airlines serves Antigua, Barbados and Saint Lucia in the Caribbean and Goa in India from Manchester during the winter season.
According to Thomas Cook Airlines, it is now the largest long-haul carrier at Manchester Airport in terms of the number of widebody long-haul aircraft it is basing there.
The airline’s announcement of its planned service expansion at Manchester Airport comes with the confirmation by Thomas Cook Airlines that it has agreed to extend its service agreements at Manchester, East Midlands and London Stansted airports for a further five years at each airport. All three airports are operated by Manchester Airports Group (MAG).
Thomas Cook Airlines confirmed last year that it is introducing long-haul services at London Stansted this summer with flights to Cancun, Las Vegas and Orlando from July, and has committed to retaining its current flight program from East Midlands Airport.
The carrier will also operate more short-haul flights from Manchester Airport this year, offering 50,000 more seats annually with the addition of one of the airline’s new Airbus A321 single-aisle jets.
Flights to Antalya in Turkey will increase this summer from four round-trips a week to daily service. Thomas Cook Airlines will also increase service frequencies on its routes from Manchester Airport to Bodrum, Corfu, Dalaman, Faro, Larnaca, Palma, Paphos Sharm el Sheikh, Skiathos and Tenerife.
Thomas Cook Airlines’ agreement with Manchester Airports Group, for a further five years from November 1, 2014, will see the airline grow the number of seats on offer at MAG’s airports by 15 per cent ‒ including a 21 per cent increase at Manchester ‒ compared to its 2013 levels.
Announced in August 2014, the refurbishment of Thomas Cook Airlines’ UK-based A330 fleet is now complete, the aircraft having had new Economy and Premium seats installed. The refurbishment of the fleet is part of a £100m investment in the Group Airlines fleet.
Thomas Cook Airlines has also signed an agreement to lease a further A330-200 ‒ MSN948, a six year-old ex-Avianca aircraft. This A330 will join the fleet after refurbishment in June and will be registered G-TCXB.
This new-to-Thomas Cook A330-200 will be painted in the new Thomas Cook Airlines ‘Sunny Heart’ livery. The aircraft will have 314 seats, including 49 in a Premium cabin offering a fantastic service.
It will give the airline seven A330s for operations from the UK in summer 2015: five in Manchester (also serving Belfast and Cardiff), one at London Gatwick and a new A330 Air Tanker (MRTT) aircraft which will operate to the U.S. and Mexico from Glasgow and London Stansted in the summer.
The aircraft is being operated by Thomas Cook Airlines as part of a cost-cutting exercise by which some of the Royal Air Force’s Airbus Voyager K2 (A330 MRTT) aircraft, which are operated on its behalf by Air Tanker Ltd., are being leased out for commercial operations but remain available as a strategic reserve for the RAF if UK strategic military requirements necessitate it.
This A330 MRTT was delivered to Air Tanker Ltd. by Airbus on February 5 for conversion to a commercial passenger aircraft.