UK tour operators Thomson and First Choice have confirmed they will add new direct holiday options from Glasgow Airport to Punta Cana, Dominican Republic during its summer 2014 schedule from the Scottish airport. The weekly flight will commence on May 1, 2014 and marks the return of flights between Glasgow and the Dominican Republic after a two year break. They will be operated by Thomson Airways using its Boeing 787 Dreamliner. The move to introduce the route is part of the tour operators’ strategy to ensure customers across the UK can fly from their local airport and stay at the best hotels in some of the most exciting destinations.
The Dominican Republic will be third long-haul destination served from Glasgow by one of Thomson’s fleet of Dreamliners which currently fly to Orlando, Florida and Cancun, Mexico. The aircraft’s first ever transatlantic flight departed Glasgow Airport for Cancun on July 8, 2013 and has since proved very popular with customers. Almost 300 passengers flew on the inaugural flight and 97% rated their experience as 'excellent' or 'good.'
“This is yet more good news from Thomson and First Choice. It was an honour to have been the first UK airport to wave off the Dreamliner on its inaugural transatlantic passenger flight and the decision to add Punta Cana is a clear demonstration of the tour operator’s commitment to the Glasgow market,” said Francois Bourienne, commercial director, Glasgow Airport.
“Adding the extra capacity and the introduction of the Thomson 787 Dreamliner demonstrates the importance of Glasgow Airport and the local area to our business, and following the success of similar routes across a number of regional airports, we know that the demand is there.”Paul Cooper
Airport Negotiations Manager, Thomson Holidays and First Choice
This will be the third summer season that Thomson has operated packages from Glasgow to Punta Cana. It previously operated the route in between May and October 2009 and after dropping the link for the 2010 schedule resumed the offering between July and October 2011. Thomson also previously offered direct flights from Glasgow to La Romana in 2010 and 2011 as well as to Puerto Plata, a market previously flown First Choice Airways and also served by Thomas Cook Airlines up until 2010.
“Adding the extra capacity and the introduction of the Thomson 787 Dreamliner demonstrates the importance of Glasgow Airport and the local area to our business, and following the success of similar routes across a number of regional airports, we know that the demand is there,” explained Paul Cooper, airport negotiations manager for Thomson and First Choice.
Alongside the new long-haul link, Thomson Airways will introduce an additional flight to Kos from Glasgow to serve First Choice’s purpose built four-star Holiday Village Kos, which opened this summer in Marmari. The airline will also be adding extra weekly flights on the existing Rhodes, Zante and Palma de Mallorca routes and new ten and eleven night holiday durations to Gran Canaria through increased flight frequency.
“Expanding access to our portfolio of destinations and hotels is a key part of our overall strategy. We hope that this move will enhance the holiday experience for our customers and that they are as excited as we are about the new 787 Dreamliner,” added Cooper.
According to UK Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) data, 3,805 passengers travelled on the Glasgow – Punta Cana route in 2009, while 6,349 passengers utilised the services of Thomson when it resumed the route in 2011. In 2012 a total of 216,293 passengers flew between the UK and the Dominican Republic, according to the CAA statistics with 53,624 flying on the sole scheduled route between London Gatwick and Punta Cana and 162,669 taking advantage of charter packages. The total passenger figure is down around a third compared to 2011 due to a reduction in charter capacity; the removal of La Romana flying and direct air service to the Dominican Republic from many UK regional airports causing the large decline.