UK leisure carrier Thomas Cook Airlines is to launch new long-haul links to the United States from London Stansted, Manchester and Glasgow as part of its expanded summer 2015 programme. The long-haul growth will be supported by a major investment in upgrading its Airbus A330 fleet to offer a much higher level of comfort to Transatlantic passengers.
At London Stansted, Thomas Cook Airlines will offer the only long-haul flights from the airport with flights to Orlando and Las Vegas and Cancun, Mexico from summer 2015. These will add to the current 18 destinations it serves from London Stansted Airport, carrying around 150,000 passengers each year.
The new long-haul flights will operate during a four week window between July 17, 2015 and August 17, 2015 with two flights a week to Orlando and one per week to both Cancun and Las Vegas. “It’s great news that we are able to continue to grow our partnership with London Stansted – and it’s even better news for holidaymakers in the East and South East of England as they can now fly long haul from their local airport,” said Christoph Debus, chief executive officer, Thomas Cook Airlines.
Thomas Cook Airlines is offering an expanded schedule from Stansted this summer with eight new routes using larger aircraft. From this June it will operate two aircraft from Stansted – using larger Airbus A321s rather than the existing A320s – a strategy that is being replicated across the UK regions.
“Thomas Cook Airlines recognise our untapped potential,” said Andrew Harrison, managing director, Stansted Airport. “Stansted already has an unrivalled network of European destinations but today’s announcement demonstrates our drive to improve services and expand the range of destinations we offer.”
At Manchester Airport, Thomas Cook Airlines will introduce a new link to New York as well as the only service to Miami from outside London in summer 2015. The Manchester – New York flight will operate three times weekly and the Miami schedule twice weekly, the latter catering to not only those seeking leisure breaks but also those looking to join Caribbean cruises.
“As well as bringing a new and alternative approach to travelling to New York – catering for both business and leisure travellers – our new cabin interiors, premium service and upgraded economy will change the way customers view Thomas Cook Airlines, as we look to provide a great quality product at a great price,” said Debus.
The new Miami route is an exciting addition to its network. Over a million people travel from the UK to Miami each year, currently served only by London airports. Our analysis of MIDT data suggests that around 23,000 of the 443,000 O&D passengers that flew between the UK and Miami in 2013 began or ended their journeys in Manchester. “With the launch of this exclusive route from Manchester, holidaymakers and cruise passengers looking for flights from the north of the UK will now have more options for travel,” added Debus.
Adding an additional 60,000 passengers to the airline’s Manchester capacity, the first flights of these new routes departs from May 2015 and will mark the introduction of a new Premium service across all Thomas Cook Airline’s long haul routes. The routes will be flown by the carrier’s refurbished Airbus A330 fleet.
“The Miami route will be the first direct scheduled Manchester to Miami service in seven years and will no doubt be a very popular destination choice for our passengers,” said Stephen Turner, aviation commercial director, Manchester Airport. “We have a strong passenger base to support more direct services and connections to the USA and this is something we’re keen to build on.”
Thomas Cook Airlines will also operate a weekly flight in summer 2015 to Las Vegas from Glasgow Airport following the successful operation of a series of one-off flights to the US in recent summers. The new link will launch on May 4, 2015 and will be operated every Monday through to October 31, 2015 using one of the carrier’s Airbus A330s.
“It’s fantastic news that we are able to start a regular flight to Las Vegas next summer, as a result of the great support and feedback we’ve received when we’ve operated individual flights to the US. It’s great news for holidaymakers too that they now how even more choice when looking for long haul flights from Glasgow to this increasingly popular destination,” said Debus.
Las Vegas attracts tens of millions of visitors every year but this will be the first time Scotland has had had a regular service to what is often referred to as the entertainment capital of the world. According to MIDT data an estimated 28,000 bi-directional O&D passengers travelled between Scotland and Las Vegas in 2013 with around 16,000 flying from or to Glasgow.
“Not only is Thomas Cook’s decision to introduce a weekly service to Las Vegas for the duration of the 2015 summer season excellent news for Glasgow Airport and our customers, it further strengthens our already extensive long haul offering,” said Francois Bourienne, commercial director Glasgow Airport.
Alongside the Las Vegas service, Thomas Cook has also announced the introduction of an additional third weekly flight to Tunisia during summer of 2015. From July 2015, it will serve 22 destinations from Glasgow Airport, with over 260,000 passengers each year flying with the airline from the airport.
Further short-haul growth has also been announced at Newcastle, which celebrated the arrival of its two brand new Thomas Cook Airlines’ A321s this week at the launch of the carrier’s new summer 2014 expanded schedule to Dalaman in Turkey and new link to the popular Greek Island of Kos. For summer 2015, new routes from Newcastle have been announced to Santorini and Hurghada along with an additional flight to Enfidha.
Thomas Cook Airlines UK is part of the Thomas Cook Group (also includes Thomas Cook Airlines Belgium, Thomas Cook Airlines Scandinavia and Condor Flugdienst) and operates from 20 airports across the UK, carrying 6.7 million passengers last year to over 50 short-, medium- and long haul airports with over 200 holiday destinations including North America, the Caribbean Sea and India, as well as resorts across Europe. The airline has a fleet of 31 Airbus and Boeing narrow and wide body aircraft and this summer has introduced the first of six new Airbus A321s to support its operations.