Thomas Cook Airlines' history
1919 In the aftermath of the First World War, Thomas Cook & Son is the first travel agent to advertise public trips by aeroplane (Easter 1919). The firm becomes a passenger agent for the principal air companies and is soon selling tickets (costing 30 guineas – equivalent to over £1000 today) for return flights from London to Paris or Brussels.
1927 Thomas Cook & Son organise the world’s first personally-conducted tour by aeroplane. A group of six people (four passengers, a Thomas Cook representative and a pilot) fly from New York to Chicago for the Tunney-Dempsey world heavyweight boxing contest. The price of the package – comprising return flights with inflight meal, first-class accommodation in Chicago and a ringside seat for the fight – is $575.00 (equivalent to over £6000 today).
1939 Holidays by air on specially chartered aircraft to the French Riviera are included in Thomas Cook’s summer brochure for the first time.
1991 Airtours International, the in-house airline of UK tour operator Airtours, launches on 11th March 1991.
1996 Thomas Cook acquires its first airline, Airworld, when it purchases UK tour operator Sunworld. 1996 Airtours gains full control of Scandinavia’s largest charter airline, Premiair, when it acquires Spies, a Scandinavian leisure group, in February 1996.
1998 The Flying Colours Leisure Group is acquired by Airworld parent Sunworld (itself a subsidiary of Thomas Cook) in June 1998. The two airlines (Flying Colours and Airworld) merge at the end of the 1998 summer season under the Flying Colours name.
1999 JMC Airlines is launched on 1st September 1999 through the merger of Flying Colours and Caledonian Airways (the latter airline having been acquired by Thomas Cook when it took control of Carlson Leisure Group’s UK interests earlier in the year)
Thomas Cook Airlines in the modern era
2002 Airtours International Airways and Premiair officially adopt the name MyTravel Airways in May 2002.
2002 MyTravel Lite, a low-fare sibling of MyTravel Airways, launches operations from its Birmingham hub in October 2002.
2003 Thomas Cook Airlines UK Ltd (the new name for JMC Airlines) is formally launched by HRH The Duke of York at Manchester Airport on 27th March.
2004 Thomas Cook launches flythomascook.com, a way for online customers to book low-cost seats on Thomas Cook Airlines, on 2nd December 2004.
2008 Following the merger between Thomas Cook AG and MyTravel Group plc in June 2007, the new Thomas Cook Airlines (amalgamating Thomas Cook Airlines UK Ltd and MyTravel Airways) is launched at Gatwick on 30th March 2008. 2010 Thomas Cook Airlines launches a Pilot Cadet Scheme in the UK.
2011 New Thomas Cook Proud Collection uniforms are introduced on 1st November.
2012 Chief Executive Officer Christoph Debus joins the airline and begins a transformation programme featuring a fleet roll-over, £100M cabin refurbishment programme and integration of all airlines in the Thomas Cook Group.
2013 Thomas Cook announces that Thomas Cook Airlines UK, Thomas Cook Airlines Belgium and Condor will be merged into a single operating division within the Thomas Cook Group.
2013 Thomas Cook Airlines welcomes its first new full livery A330 called Sunny Heart to the fleet.
2014 www.flythomascook.com changes its name to www.thomascookairlines.com signalling a new intent to be more visible and more recognisable as one of the biggest names in travel.
2014 Thomas Cook Airlines announces new routes to New York and Miami for May 2015 along with a new Premium service from Manchester airport.
2015 Routes to Boston, Los Angeles and Tobago from Manchester; the only direct flights at the time to Cape Town from outside London are announced from London Gatwick. Recommencement of aircraft engineering and business administration apprentice scheme.
2016 Additional aircraft to be based at Birmingham and Glasgow airports for W16/17; 15 new routes are announced for Summer 17; short and medium-haul fleet refurbishment continued