TUI 60th


Use the timeline below to navigate through our history:

1960 - 1969

The first Sky Tours package holidays to Alicante, Benidorm, a small up-and-coming fishing village in Spain's Costa Blanca, began operating from Newcastle Airport in 1962. Euravia was the operating airline, which rebranded as Britannia Airways in 1964.

New destinations were added to meet the increased demand from the region, including Costa Brava, Majorca and Genoa.

The first Britannia Airways cabin crew were recruited to operate on two Bristol Britannia aircraft based at Newcastle for the peak summer. 

The first Boeing 737 jet flight operated for inclusive tours with Britannia Airways. Newcastle hailed as entering the jet age. The new jets cut an hour off journey times to popular holiday destinations.

1970 - 1979

Thomson Skytours and Britannia flights increased 40% year on year from the Airport. As a result, a Boeing 737 was based in Newcastle.

Thomson Skytours recruited ‘Telephone Sales Girls’ based in Newcastle to cope with the increased number of holidays from the region. Thomson moved to a larger office on New Bridge Street, Newcastle.

Thomson expanded their Newcastle operation into the winter months for the first time.

New routes to Tenerife, Malta and Malaga were added to the flight schedule. 

1980 - 1989

Newcastle Airport reached the milestone of 1m passengers, thanks to the additional based aircraft operating to Corfu, Crete and Rhodes.

Metrocentre Gateshead opened, featuring a flagship Lunn Poly holiday shop.

1990 - 1999

Britannia Airways based one of its 10 Boeing 767 wide-body jets at the Airport, which was able to carry 282 passengers. The airline and tour operators expanded by 27% year on year as a result of the 767.

The first flights Britannia 787 aircraft took off to Orlando, Florida, from Newcastle.

Britannia opened a new engineering facility at Newcastle Airport, based in the old Fire Station.

2000 - 2009

Thomson, Lunn Poly, and Britannia were purchased by TUI, then known as Preussag AG, until 2002, when it became TUI AG.

Britannia Airways rebrands as Thomsonfly. Lunn Poly rebrands as Thomson. 

Thomson and First Choice merged. 

The airline rebrands as Thomson Airways. First flights to Mexico, Dominican Republic and Egypt depart from Newcastle.

2010 - 2019

Newcastle Airport became a full Thomson Boeing 737-800 base.

Thomson rans a competition with the North East public to name their Dreamliners. ‘Angel of the Sky’ was chosen by listeners of Metro Radio’s Steve and Karen Breakfast Show.

The first Dreamliner flights took off from Newcastle to Florida and Cancun.

Flagship Thomson Holiday design store opened in MetroCentre.

The UK’s leading package holiday brands Thomson and First Choice Holidays rebranded to TUI.

2020 - Looking the Future

The aviation industry embarks on the biggest crisis it has ever seen.

Following the relaxation of restrictions on international travel, TUI became the first airline to resume leisure flights from Newcastle Airport during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The airline announced its largest-ever programme from Newcastle. A fourth 737 is based at the Airport, and a second 737 for winter.

Extra flights to popular holiday destinations, including Greece, Turkey, the Canaries, Egypt, and Florida, are added. Two new routes to Dubrovnik and the Costa Brava are also announced.

Long haul flights resume from Newcastle Airport following a 2 year pause due to COVID-19.

The first fly-cruises from Newcastle to the USA with Marella Cruises will begin. Departing to Florida, taking passengers to the Dominican Republic, Miami, the Bahamas, and New York City.