Thomas Cook takes-off from London Luton in summer 2017

UK leisure carrier Thomas Cook Airlines is to launch flights from London’s Luton Airport in summer 2017, home to two of its long-term rivals Monarch and Thomson Airways. The carrier will introduce four new routes from the airport as part of a summer schedule that will offer an additional 150,000 seats to its offering.

Complementing its existing operations from London’s Gatwick and Stansted airports, Thomas Cook Airlines will introduce weekly flights from Luton Airport to Ibiza, Mahon and Palma in Spain and Corfu in Greece during the summer 2017 schedule. These flights will be operated using Airbus A321 equipment which will fly in and out of the airport on a ‘W’ pattern between Fridays and Mondays.

“Operating out of Luton matches our ambitions to grow our airline,” said Henry Sunley, director of sales and planning, Thomas Cook Airlines. “We’ve worked with our airport and airline partners to build a really great programme for summer 2017.”

“It meets the changing demands of UK holidaymakers, and ensures that Brits can get great summer sun on a quality airline that puts its customers first,” he added.

The new flights will provide just some of the 100,000 seats the airline is adding to the Balearics and Canaries next summer, although there will also be growth in a number of other traditional short-haul Mediterranean markets.

Elsewhere In London, Thomas Cook Airlines will introduce additional weekly rotations from Gatwick to Almeria, Ibiza, Mahon, Malta, Rhodes and Zakinthos and additional capacity will be provided by utilising a Boeing 757-300 instead of an A321 on many routes. At Stansted a new twice weekly link to Alicante will debut from July 21, 2017 while additional weekly flights will be added on routes to Arrecife, Ibiza, Larnaca, Mahon and Tenerife.

Outside of the capital, Thomas Cook Airlines will also grow significantly from Birmingham and Manchester next summer. At Manchester Airport it will launch new twice weekly Malaga, Mykonos and Split operations from the start of May 2017 which will enable it to offer weekly and ten and eleven night travel packages. It will also boost flights to Alicante, Arrecife, Corfu, Dalaman, Faro and Mahon.

At Birmingham Airport new weekly links to Malta and Naples will start from early May 2017 with additional weekly frequency growth on its existing routes to Bourgas, Faro, Fuerteventura, Ibiza, Larnaca and Zakinthos. Elsewhere, new weekly services will also be introduced between Bristol and Malta from April 6, 2017 and between Newcastle and Paphos from May 2, 2017 and Almeria from May 29, 2017. A twice weekly Glasgow – Alicante flight will also be added from May 2, 2017.

Meanwhile, frequency growth will also see additional flights added to existing routes between Bristol and Mahon, Tenerife and Zakinthos; East Midlands and Heraklion and Palma and Newcastle and Reus. At Belfast International a new weekly link to Ibiza will also be added from May 1, 2017.

There will also be some adjustments to the airline’s long-haul programme from the UK. An initial schedule update shows the introduction of a mini-series of four flights between Belfast to Cancun while the frequency of flights to between London Gatwick and Orlando is being increased from two to three weekly from May 3, 2017 and a second daily rotation will be introduced between London Stansted and Las Vegas.

It also appears that the airline has dropped plans to introduce twice weekly flights between Manchester and San Francisco from May 25, 2017 following Virgin Atlantic’s announcement that it will serve the city pair from next summer. In its latest summer 2017 inventory update It has also removed reservations for additional weekly flights on its existing routes to Los Angeles, Miami and New York for summer 2017, although it will still add a second weekly flight to Cayo Coco from May 6, 2017 as previously planned.

Richard Maslen

Richard Maslen has travelled across the globe to report on developments in the aviation sector as airlines and airports have continued to evolve and…