Thomson likely to delay Dreamliner Launch

Thomson Airways might be forced to introduce contingency plans if the scheduled launch of its Boeing 787 Dreamliner service has to be delayed due to technical issues.

The airline had intended to commence its Dreamliner service in May this year, but technical checks that are currently being carried out on the aircraft in Japan and the USA have led to the 50 Dreamliner’s that are currently in service around the globe being grounded because of safety issues.

Thomson has yet to be given a delivery date by Boeing for its first Dreamliner, which is just one of 800 orders that are currently suspended awaiting the outcome of the safety checks. The airline had intended to use the aircraft on flights to Mexico and Florida.

In a statement on the issue, Thomson Airways said, ‘We appreciate that there are many customers who are looking forward to flying on the Dreamliner but unfortunately these circumstances are out of our control.Once we have finalised our contingency plans we will contact customers whose flights may be affected.’

Doubts about the aircraft’s safety arose when a Japan Airline 787 Dreamliner was forced to land following a fire in its on-board battery. Subsequent technical checks on the causes are believed to be veering away from the fault being with the battery itself, but rather the electrical system that monitors its charging, voltage and temperature.

Boeing has been promoting the Dreamliner as the first airliner to offer mid-size airplane capabilities on long-distance routes, and while cooperating with the investigations, they remain confident of the aircraft’s safety.

Five crewmen killed in Thomson cruise ship accident

In the latest disaster to befall the cruise ship industry, five crewmen have died in an accident aboard a luxury Thomson cruise liner.

The Thomson Majesty liner was in port at La Palma, the most northwesterly of the Canary Islands, on route from Gran Canaria to Funchal in Madeira. Eight crewmembers were checking a lifeboat when its cables snapped and it dropped 65 feet from the upper deck to the water below. It is believed that the lifeboat overturned on impact and trapped most of the crewmen beneath. Although three were pulled from the water and taken to hospital, five others, three Indonesians, a Filipino and a Ghanaian, drowned, four of them dying before being recovered from the water and one a short time after.

The twenty-year-old Thomson Majesty only came into service with the company last summer, and has capacity for 1,462 passengers. The vessel is owned and managed by Louis Cruises and had suffered a previous tragedy in 2010, when, under the name Lois Majesty, it was hit by a massive wave in the Mediterranean and two passengers were killed.

Thomson Cruises is investigating the latest accident, and said in a statement, ‘There was an incident involving the ship’s crew during a safety drill. Our thoughts are with the families of those involved. We are working closely with the ship owners and managers, Louis Cruises, to determine exactly what has happened. We are also working closely with all relevant authorities and will be co-operating fully with their investigations.’

Most of the ship’s passengers are thought to be British, and the UK’s Foreign Office said that it was ‘urgently investigating’ the incident.

Thomson Airways to Receive Boeing Dreamliner Aircraft

Thomson Airways, a UK based charter airline company, will be the first leisure carrier to operate a Boeing 787 Dreamliner.

The airline is planning to induct the initial aircraft to its flight schedule from May 1, 2013. The aircraft should be delivered to the airline by the first quarter of 2013, and it is intended to offer better travel options to the airline’s passengers.

Thomson proposes to redesign the aircraft to carry around 291 passengers, with a Premium Club cabin seating 47 passengers, and the Economy Club cabin seating 244 passengers. The airline intends to acquire eight of the 13 Dreamliners, ordered by TUI Travel, the parent travel company. The first four are likely to arrive in 2013, an additional three in 2014, and the last in 2015.

The company is inviting its guests to name its first Dreamliner through a contest on Twitter, using the hash tag, #nameourplane.

Another UK based airline, British Airways, will be acquiring its Boeing 787 Dreamliners, to be delivered in May 2013, with three aircraft set to arrive that year. The airline is also acquiring A380 aircraft, the first of which is likely to join the fleet in the second half of 2013.

The chief executive officer of the airline’s parent company, Willie Walsh, said, ‘We are in discussions with Airbus about deliveries. The A380 deliveries will be pushed back and it’s likely we will continue to take delivery of the A380s in 2013 but it will be probably towards the third quarter of the year before we take delivery of those aircraft.

The 787s remain broadly on target in terms of delivery – there’s been a little bit of slippage but nothing of any great significance.

We remain broadly on target to take delivery of the A380s and 787s.’

More Britons opting for package tours

The popularity of package tours is increasing as cost-conscious consumers guard themselves against hidden costs.

Tour operators say that Britons have become cost-conscious because of the financial crisis and are having to find more innovative ways to holiday in style.

Thomson Holidays said that the demand for package tours has increased. The company, considered to be the biggest tour operator in Europe, said that most of its holidays have been booked, and that compared to the same time last year, fewer seats remain to be booked. Package holidays are in high demand as budget-conscious holiday goers consider them to be more secure, thanks to their fixed prices and no hidden charges. With the increase in demand, it is expected that overall summer bookings for the UK will continue to outperform the wider industry.

Another factor in the healthy holiday uptake is that British tourists are keen to take advantage of the strength of the pound against the euro, as the currency differential currently makes visits to other parts of Europe even more inviting. The weather in Britain has also contributed to the increase in outbound tourism, with Brits determined to find dry, sunny weather before the holiday period draws to a close.

Peter Long, chief executive of TUI Travel Plc, said, ‘Northern Europe has been pretty consistently bad from a weather perspective over the last couple of months and that has benefited us with people deciding to book.’

Some of the most popular destinations currently attracting tourists are Majorca, Ibiza and Menorca. Turkey, Egypt, Tunisia and Morocco are also well favoured by those looking to holiday on more distant shores.

Tour operators are also advising that those looking to control costs abroad should take a prepaid credit card for more predictable expenditure.


Thomson Announces Launch of Summer 2013 Programme

Thomson Holidays, the UK based travel company, has launched its brand new summer 2013 programme brochure.

The new brochure includes the debut of the Thomson Airways 787 Dreamliner, new and exclusive hotel offers, like the new Sensatori and Thomson Couples hotel experiences, and new cruise destinations.

Thomson Airways, an airline owned by the travel company, has taken delivery of its new Boeing 787 Dreamliner aircraft, which from May 1, 2013 will fly its customers to Cancun, in Mexico and Sanford, in Florida, US, from the Manchester, London Gatwick, East Midlands and Glasgow airports in the UK. The company is also offering a new addition to the Sensatori Collection of luxury hotels, with the Sensatori Turkey, located in Sorgun, Turkey, and there will be six new hotel additions to its global hotel portfolio for the summer of 2013.

From May 2013, 90 percent of holidays offered by the company will only be available for sale to UK customers through the company’s own sources, and summer 2013 holidays go on sale from April 26, 2012.

Garry Wilson, the company purchasing and product director, said, ‘Summer 2013 is shaping up to be one of our most exciting launches ever. We are thrilled that our customers are going to be able to experience the benefits of travelling on the Dreamliner on our most popular long haul routes. We know that this addition to our fleet will set us apart from our competition and we’ll be able to give our customers the best possible start to their holidays.

In line with our strategy of offering customers holidays they cannot get elsewhere, we’ve been working to ensure that more hotels than ever are being offered exclusively by Thomson to our customers in the UK.’