After 178 years of continuous operation, the Thomas Cook group collapsed on 23 September 2019.
A long and winding history
As with most UK airlines Thomas Cook has a history that could be explained in several tomes.
To keep things simple we’ll skip over the histories of Caledonian Airways and Flying Colours Airlines – merged in to a new airline by Thomas Cook & Son to form JMC Air – and MyTravel Airways, previously named Airtours International Airways.
On 31 March 2003 Thomas Cook rebranded its airline from JMC Air to Thomas Cook Airlines, the beginning of the airline as we know it. Then, following a merger of Thomas Cook AG and the MyTravel Group in March 2008, MyTravel Airways was integrated and Thomas Cook operated in the UK as Thomas Cook Airlines, as well as in Belgium, Germany and across Scandinavia as Thomas Cook Airlines Belgium, Condor and Thomas Cook Airlines Scandinavia respectively.
Needless to say Thomas Cook Airlines ended up with a hodge-podge of aircraft from all of these companies in its fleet.
Operating 113 aircraft over 16 years Thomas Cook inherited a mix of aircraft, bought new aircraft and leased some in from AMCI providers across Europe.
In this retrospective we’ll be looking more closely at Thomas Cook’s UK operation, specifically their aircraft and “where are they now”.
Early Years of Airbus
Thomas Cook inherited A320s originally ordered by Caledonian Airways and Airworld, as well as second-hand aircraft purchased by Airtours and MyTravel Airways, as well as A321s ordered by Airworld but delivered to Airtours International Airways.
|Airbus A320-231||193||G-VCED||Retired January 2010, flown to Greenwood-Le Flore and scrapped.|
|Airbus A320-231||354||G-BVYA||To Indian Airlines as VY-EYJ March 2005. To N301SA and N354BV stored Oslo-Gardemoen. To UR-CJO of Khors Aircompany November 2011. To EP-MML Mahan Airlinbes November 2013. To EP-APF Iran Aseman Airlines November 2014. Stored.|
|Airbus A320-231||357||G-BVYB||To Mexicana as XA-UCZ December 2004. To N567BB and stored Phoenix-Goodyear. To S Group EX-32004 July 2013. To ER-AXO of Sky Prim Air October 2015. Not taken up by Fly 365 Aviation as YR-SUC. To YR-SEA of Star East Airlines July 2017 and still active.|
|Airbus A320-231||393||G-CVYD||To Windjet as I-LINF July 2003, stored Chateauroux-Deols in May 2009. To EI-EEX in July 2009 whilst in storage. To SX-SMY of Viking Hellas, latterly Fly Hellas, in February 2010. Returned to EI-EEX for further storage. To UR-CKA of Khors Air in June 2012. To UR-MUS of Zagros Airlines in August 2012. To EP-TTA of Atrak Air in May 2013. Active.|
|Airbus A320-231||394||G-CVYE||To OO-TCE of Thomas Cook Airlines Belgium May 2003. To AP-BGU of Air Blue May 2004. To N394DK for storage at Phoenix-Goodyear. Scrapped May 2010.|
|Airbus A320-231||411||G-BVYC||To OO-TCC of Thomas Cook Airlines Belgium in March 2002. Returned to G-BVYC. To VY-EYK of Indian Airlines, in March 2005. Transferred to Air India in August 2007. To N411BV for storage at Phoenix-Goodyear. Scrapped in 2011.|
|Airbus A320-231||424||G-CRPH||To C5-AAR of Aeolus Air in April 2013. To RP-C5323 of SEAir December 2015. To ER-AXU of Safi Airways February 2017. To LZ-EAA of Electra Airways in July 2017. Active.|
|Airbus A320-231||429||G-BYTH||To Skywest Airlines Australia as VH-FNP April 2010. Airline renamed Virgin Australia Regional Airlines in May 2013. Active.|
|Airbus A320-231||437||G-FTDF||Retired January 2011. Flown to Greenwood-Le Flore July 2011 and scrapped.|
|Airbus A320-231||443||G-CVYG||To OO-TCG of Thomas Cook Airlines Belgium May 2003. To AP-BGV of Air Blue May 2004. To N221LF for storage at Bangor-International. Not taken up by Onur Air as TC-OBP. Flown to Orlando-Sanford and scrapped in 2012.|
|Airbus A320-231||476||G-GTDL||To N476PB for storage October 2011. To XU-ZAB of Skywings Asia Airlines November 2011. To EP-ZAR of Zagros Airlines Sepbember 2015. To EP-API of Iran Aseman Airlines April 2017. Active.|
|Airbus A321-211||677||G-OMYJ||Stored Southend-Rochford January 2015. To EI-FGZ whilst in storage at Southend. To St Athan September 2015. To 2-RLAF whilst in storage at St Athan. To 9Q-DSB of Compagnie Africaine d’Aviation February 2016. To 9S-ASB of Compagnie Africaine d’Aviation February 2018. Stored Chateauroux-Deols June 2019.|
|Airbus A320-214||714||G-BXKA||To Vladivostok Air as VP-BFY January 2008. To D-AHHH of Hamburg Airways June 2014. Stored Shannon December 2014. To N227NV of Allegiant Air April 2015. Active.|
|Airbus A320-214||716||G-BXKB G-OMYA||To MyTravel Airways as G-OMYA March 2007. Returned to Thomas Cook Airlines when airlines merged! To D-AHHD of Hamburg Airways May 2012. Stored Shannon December 2014. To N228NV of Allegiant Air April 2015. Active.|
|Airbus A320-214||730||G-BXKC||To Vladivostok Air as VP-BFX January 2008. Stored Shannon December 2013. To D-AHHG of Hamburg Airways April 2014. Stored Shannon December 2014. To N229NV of Allegiant Air April 2015. Active.|
|Airbus A320-214||735||G-BXKD||To Ural Airlines as VP-BFZ February 2008. Stored Yekaterinburg October 2019. Stored Greenwood-Le Flore November 2019. Scrapped.|
|Airbus A321-211||1238||G-DHJH||Stored Manchester September 2019. Stored Lasham October 2019. To Singapore-Seletar December 2019 for freighter conversion. For Titan Airways.|
|Airbus A321-211||1250||G-NIKO||Stored London-Gatwick September 2019. Stored Lasham October 2019. Stored Woensdrecht December 2019. To Singapore-Seletar March 2020 for freighter conversion. For ?|
|Airbus A320-232||1411||G-TCAC||To Skyservice Airlines as C-FRAA October 2009. Stored Balboa Howard AFB April 2010. To N411MP whilst in storage. Leased back to Thomas Cook Airlines as G-TCAC June 2010. To SP-HAB of Small Planet Airlines Poland March 2011. To LY-SPK of Small Planet Airlinbes September 2018. Stored Sharjah October 2018. To OE-IHM whilst in storage. Stored Montpellier Mediterranee February 2019. To RP-C7935 of Pan Pacific Airlines April 2019. Active.|
|Airbus A320-214||1942||G-DHRG||Stored Southend-Rochford October 2013. To VP-CXF of Flynas December 2013. Stored Kaunas-Karmelava February 2020.|
|Airbus A320-214||1954||G-TCAE||To Thomas Cook Airlines Balearics as EC-MTJ March 2018. Not taken up by Condor Flugdienst as D-ATCJ. To OE-IKR and stored Kaunas October 2019. For Windrose Airlines as UR-WRX.|
|Airbus A320-214||1961||G-SUEW||Stored Manchester November 2013. To D-ABNF of Air Berlin April 2014. Stored Ostrava-Mosnov October 2017. To OE-IFU whilst in storage. To OO-SNL of Brussels Airlines March 2018.|
|Airbus A320-214||1965||G-DHJZ||Stored Manchester October 2013. To VP-CXG of Flynas January 2014. Stored Antalya February 2020.|
|Airbus A320-214||1968||G-TCKE||To D-AICN of Condor Flugdienst March 2006. Retired January 2015. To OO-TCV of Thomas Cook Airlines Belgium March 2015. To Brussels Airlines as OO-TCV October 2017. Active.|
|Airbus A320-214||2003||G-KKAZ||Stored Manchester September 2013. To D-ABNE of Air Berlin January 2014. Stored Ostrava-Mosnov October 2017. To OE-IFV whilst in storage. To OO-SNM of Brussels Airlines April 2018.|
|Airbus A320-214||2114||G-TCAD||To Thomas Cook Airlines Belgium as OO-TCQ May 2014. To Brussels Airlines as OO-TCQ May 2015.|
Only A321s G-DHJH and G-NIKO were left in the Thomas Cook fleet by September 2019, and current reports indicate both will be returning to the UK as freighters.
Britain buys Boeing
Thomas Cook also inherited two Boeing types, the 757 and larger 767, from both JMC Air and MyTravel Airways.
JMC’s aircraft were a mix of former Flying Colours aircraft and ones they had purchased themselves – including two 757-300s. MyTravel supplied one 757 for the new fleet.
All three 767s were former Airtours International Airways/MyTravel Airways aircraft.
Finally Thomas Cook Airlines acquired a further three 757-200s and three 757-300s between 2011 and 2017.
|Boeing 757-28A||24367||G-FCLG||Retired November 2008 and converted to freighter. To N914FD of FedEx February 2009.|
|Boeing 757-28A||24369||G-JMCF||Retired June 2010 and converted to freighter. To N928FD of FedEx April 2011.|
|Boeing 757-330||26012||G-JMOE||To Condor Flugdienst as D-ABOE February 2017.|
|Boeing 757-2Y0||26160||G-FCLJ||Retired November 2014. Stored at Jacksonville-Cecil January 2015. To N135CA of National Airlines January 2015. Stored Phoenix-Goodyear July 2015. To EI-CJX of ASL Airlines Ireland October 2015. Stored Shannon March 2020.|
|Boeing 757-2Y0||26161||G-FCLK||Retired November 2014. To N153CA of National Airlines February 2015. Planned freighter conversion did not take place. Stored Marana-Pinal Air Park April 2016. Stored Seoul-Incheon Intl May 2016. To EI-CJY and Moscow-Vnukovo August 2016. To EI-CJY of I-Fly. Stored Kemble December 2018. Scrapped.|
|Boeing 757-28A||26274||G-FCLH||Retired February 2013 and converted to freighter. To N968FD of FedEx April 2013.|
|Boeing 757-28A||26275||G-FCLI||Stored St Athan January 2016. Stored East Midlands April 2016. Stored Greensboro-Piedmont May 2016. To G-DHKH of DHL Air UK June 2016. Converted to freighter Jacksonville-Cecil May 2017.|
|Boeing 757-2G5||26278||G-JMCG||Stored Lasham December 2014. To N167CR and converted to freighter Singapore-Seletar April 2015. To B-7342 of SF Airlines November 2015.|
|Boeing 767-31KER||27205||G-TCCA||Retired November 2016 and stored at Manchester. To N1373A of Atlas Air February 2017 and stored at Tel Aviv-Ben Gurion. Converted to freighter Tel Aviv-Ben Gurion October 2017.|
|Boeing 767-31KER||27206||G-DAJC||Retired November 2017 and stored at Manchester. To N1489A of Atlas Air January 2018 and Taipei-Taoyuan. Converted to freighter Taipei-Taoyuan June 2018.|
|Boeing 757-28A||27621||G-FCLA||Stored Lasham November 2014. To N166CR August 2015 and stored Phoenix-Goodyear. Converted to freighter Singapore-Seletar April 2015. Stored Phoenix-Goodyear March 2016. To B-7689 of SF Airlines April 2016.|
|Boeing 757-28A||28164||G-FCLB||Retired February 2013 and converted to freighter. To N969FD of FedEx April 2013.|
|Boeing 757-28A||28166||G-FCLC||Retired February 2013 and converted to freighter. To N969FD of FedEx April 2013.|
|Boeing 757-28A||28171||G-FCLE||Retired September 2012. Converted to freighter Mobile-Downtown January 2013. To N970FD of FedEx July 2013.|
|Boeing 757-28A||28203||G-TCBA||Retired October 2012 and converted to freighter. To N972FD of FedEx July 2013.|
|Boeing 757-21K||28674||G-WJAN||Stored Prestwick December 2015. To N533CC and stored Xiamen-Gaoqi May 2016. Converted to freighter Xiamen-Gaoqi April 2017. To B-1432 of SF Airlines.|
|Boeing 757-25F||28718||G-FCLD||Retired March 2014. To G-FCLD of DHL Air UK June 2014 and converted to freighter. To VT-BDA of Blue Dart Aviation October 2014.|
|Boeing 757-28A||28835||G-FCLF||Retired October 2013 and stored Manchester. To VQ-BTB of Royal Flight May 2014. Stored Novosibirsk.|
|Boeing 767-31KER||28865||G-TCCB||Retired November 2017 and stored at Manchester. To N1487A of Atlas Air November 2017 and stored at Tel Aviv-Ben Gurion. Converted to freighter Tel Aviv-Ben Gurion October 2018.|
|Boeing 757-330||29013||G-JMOF||To Condor Flugdienst as D-ABOF January 2018.|
|Boeing 757-330||29014||G-JMOG||To Condor Flugdienst as D-ABOG May 2018.|
|Boeing 757-236||29945||G-TCBB||Retired October 2015 and stored Manchester. To G-DHKF of DHL Air UK April 2016. Converted to freighter Jacksonville-Cecil October 2016.|
|Boeing 757-236||29946||G-TCBC||Retired October 2015 and stored Madrid-Barajas. To G-DHKG of DHL Air UK June 2016. Converted to freighter Jacksonville-Cecil November 2016.|
|Boeing 757-25F||30757||G-JMCD||Retired April 2016. To N168CR and stored Southend-Rochford June 2015. Converted to freighter Chengdu-Shuangliu July 2015. To B-6150 of SF Airlines November 2015.|
|Boeing 757-25F||30758||G-JMCE||Retired May 2015. To N169CR and stored Southend-Rochford August 2015. Converted to freighter Xiamen-Gaoqi December 2015. To B-7082 of SF Airlines November 2015.|
|Boeing 757-3CQ||32241||G-JMAA||To Condor Flugdienst as D-ABOP April 2019.|
|Boeing 757-3CQ||32242||G-JMAB||To Condor Flugdienst as D-ABOR January 2019.|
Of 19 757-200s operated by Thomas Cook 17 are still in service as freighters, all five 757-300s continue to be operated by Condor Flugdienst (for the time being at least!) and all three 767-300s being flying with Atlas Air on behalf of Amazon Prime Air.
Airbus part 2(a): The long haul fleet
By the time of the merger both Thomas Cook Airlines and MyTravel Airways had a handful of A330s between them. Thomas Cook Airlines then added a further eight of the type, some as replacements for early A330s and 767s and some as additional capacity.
The A330s were operated with a mixed bunch of seating configurations, including premium economy and some attempt at business/first class – according to seating configuration websites at least!
|Airbus A330-243||248||G-TCCF||To Condor Flugdienst as G-TCCF October 2018. To C-GJDA of Air Transat May 2019.|
|Airbus A330-243||251||G-TCCG||To Condor Flugdienst as G-TCCG November 2018. To C-GUFR of Air Transat May 2019.|
|Airbus A330-243||254||G-MLJL||Stored Manchester September 2019.|
|Airbus A330-243||266||G-MDBD||Stored Manchester September 2019.|
|Airbus A330-243||301||G-OMYT||Stored Manchester September 2019.|
|Airbus A330-243||398||G-CHTZ||Stored Newquay October 2019.|
|Airbus A330-243||427||G-OJMB||To Air Transat as C-GTSI December 2011. To OK-GBB of Travel Service Poland October 2018. To C-GTSI of Air Transat April 2019.|
|Airbus A330-243||456||G-OJMC||To SriLankan Airlines as 4R-ALJ March 2012.|
|Airbus A330-243||727||G-TCCI||To Condor Flugdienst as G-TCCG November 2018. To C-GUBL of Air Transat May 2019.|
|Airbus A330-243||795||G-TCXA||To Air Transat as C-GTSJ November 2011.|
|Airbus A330-243||948||G-TCXB||To Sunclass Airlines as G-TCXB November 2019. Retired and stored Newquay February 2020. To VP-CCO whilst in storage.|
|Airbus A330-243||967||G-TCXC||To Sunclass Airlines as G-TCXC December 2019. Retired and stored Newquay April 2020. To VP-___ whilst in storage.|
|Airbus A330-243||1016||G-TCXD||Stored Manchester September 2019. Stored Shannon September 2019. Stored Lake City October 2019. To OE-IEJ whilst in storage November 2019. To N819CA of National Airlines March 2020.|
By September 2019 Thomas Cook had transferred a number of its A330s to partner airlines, such as Condor Flugdienst and Air Transat, and attempted to move some to its Danish airline – Thomas Cook Airlines Scandinavia – which was in the process of restarting operations as Sunclass Airlines.
These latter aircraft were not to be however, and have now ended up in storage at Newquay. Three other A330s remain at Manchester with no obvious buyer in sight, even before COVID-19’s effect on the aviation industry.
Airbus part 2(b): Standardising with the A321
In late 2013 Thomas Cook Airlines began to replace its Boeing 757s and some of its older A320 series aircraft with newer Airbus A321s – initially new-build aircraft but as time went on a number of second hand aircraft were also acquired.
By March 2017 four former Monarch Airlines A321s joined the fleet, although their service was to be short lived.
|Airbus A321-211||2060||G-TCDA||Stored Montpellier Mediterranee September 2019. To G-POWW of Titan Airways February 2020. Stored Southend Rochford March 2020.|
|Airbus A321-212||5603||G-TCDB||Stored Bristol Lulsgate September 2019. Stored Shannon September 2019. To OE-IDS whilst in storage. To C-FTXQ of Air Transat December 2019. Active.|
|Airbus A321-213||5872||G-TCDC||Stored Manchester September 2019. Stored Shannon September 2019. Stored Istanbul Ataturk November 2019. To OE-IDT whilst in storage. To C-GTCY of Air Transat January 2020. Active.|
|Airbus A321-214||6038||G-TCDD||Stored Glasgow September 2019. Stored Shannon October 2019. Stored Larnaca November 2019. For Jet2.com as G-HLYA.|
|Airbus A321-215||6056||G-TCDE||Stored Glasgow September 2019. Stored Shannon September 2019. Stored Lake City Municipal October 2019. Stored San Salvador November 2019. Stored Shannon March 2020. For Jet2.com as G-HLYB.|
|Airbus A321-216||6114||G-TCDF||Stored Belfast Aldergrove September 2019. Stored Shannon October 2019. To OE-IEH whilst in storage. To C-FTXU of Air Transat November 2019. Active.|
|Airbus A321-217||6122||G-TCDG||Stored Glasgow September 2019. Stored Shannon October 2019. Stored Chicago Rockford November 2019. For Jet2.com as G-HLYC.|
|Airbus A321-218||6515||G-TCDH||Stored Glasgow September 2019. Stored Shannon October 2019. To OE-IEI whilst in storage. To C-GTZX of Air Transat November 2019. For Jet2.com as G-HLYD.|
|Airbus A321-219||6526||G-TCDJ||Stored Birmingham September 2019. Stored Zagreb October 2019. To OE-IKL whilst in storage. To VN-A532 of VietJetAir December 2019. Active.|
|Airbus A321-220||6548||G-TCDK||Stored Birmingham September 2019. Stored Shannon September 2019. To OE-IDF whilst in storage. To C-FTXZ of Air Transat November 2019. Active.|
|Airbus A321-221||6968||G-TCDL||Stored Manchester September 2019. Stored Zagreb October 2019. To OE-IKO whilst in storage. To VN-A541 of VietJetAir January 2020. Active.|
|Airbus A321-222||7003||G-TCDM||Stored Manchester September 2019. Stored Kaunas October 2019. To F-WTBH whilst in storage. To VN-A535 of VietJetAir January 2020. Active.|
|Airbus A321-223||7048||G-TCDN||Stored Newcastle September 2019. Stored Zagreb October 2019. To OE-IKP whilst in storage. To VN-A542 of VietJetAir December 2019. Active.|
|Airbus A321-224||7055||G-TCDO||Stored London Gatwick September 2019. Stored Kaunas October 2019. To F-WTBI whilst in storage. To VN-A544 of VietJetAir January 2020. Active.|
|Airbus A321-225||6376||G-TCDP||Stored Newcastle September 2019. Stored Shannon October 2019. To OE-IDP whilst in storage. For Jet2.com as G-HLYE.|
|Airbus A321-226||6615||G-TCDR||Stored Birmingham September 2019. Stored Zagreb October 2019. To OE-IKM whilst in storage. To VN-A522 of VietJetAir January 2020. Active.|
|Airbus A321-227||1972||G-TCDV||Stored London Gatwick September 2019. Stored Newquay October 2019. To VP-CCH whilst in storage.|
|Airbus A321-228||1921||G-TCDW||Stored London Gatwick September 2019. Stored Castellon Costa Azahar November 2019. To F-WTAH whilst in storage. Stored Montpellier Mediterranee February 2020.|
|Airbus A321-229||1887||G-TCDX||Stored London Gatwick September 2019. Stored Newquay October 2019. To VP-CCG whilst in storage. For Holiday Europe as LZ-___.|
|Airbus A321-230||1881||G-TCDY||Stored Manchester September 2019. Stored Castellon Costa Azahar October 2019. Stored Montpellier Mediterranee December 2019. For Air Senegal as 6V-___.|
|Airbus A321-231||1006||G-TCDZ||Stored London Gatwick September 2019. Stored Castellon Costa Azahar October 2019.|
|Airbus A321-231||5582||G-TCVA||Stored London Gatwick September 2019. Stored Lasham October 2019. To N901JT of JetBlue Airways March 2020. Active.|
|Airbus A321-231||5606||G-TCVB||Stored Manchester September 2019. Stored Lasham October 2019. For JetBlue Airways as N902JT.|
|Airbus A321-231||6059||G-TCVC||Stored Bristol September 2019. Stored Lasham October 2019. To N930JL of JetBlue Airways March 2020. Active.|
|Airbus A321-231||6126||G-TCVD||Stored Manchester September 2019. Stored Lasham October 2019. To N931JT of JetBlue Airways March 2020. Active.|
Most of Thomas Cook’s final fleet of A321s have found new homes, with only three currently in long-term storage and no new operators in sight.
JetBlue Airways acquired all four former Monarch Airlines aircraft though only three have been delivered. The fourth continues to be kept in an airworthy state.
Since March 2003 Thomas Cook Airlines have operated 91 airframes, and from 2017 at least, leased in a further 22. Of the 91 operated directly:
- Airbus A320: 24 operated, six scrapped, five stored and 13 still flying.
- Airbus A321: 27 operated, none scrapped, 13 stored and 14 still flying.
- Airbus A330: 13 operated, none scrapped, six stored and seven still flying.
- Boeing 757: 24 operated, one scrapped, two stored and 21 still flying.
- Boeing 767: three operated, none scrapped, none stored and three still flying.
If you’re looking to see an aircraft still in Thomas Cook colours for the last time, your best bets are either Manchester or Newquay where at each three A330s reside awaiting new owners, or in Vietnam where low-cost carrier VietJetAir operate six A321s still in basic Thomas Cook silver and yellow.
Of course doing so will have to wait until the COVID-19 pandemic is over.
Photography via Threshold.aero image database, additional photography Gary Morris Photography and NTG842.