London Gatwick today welcomed the Thomson Boeing 787 Dreamliner to the airport for the first time, ahead of scheduled services to Cancun and Phuket later in the year.
The one-off Thomson service to Menorca will provide passengers with the full Dreamliner experience, which includes up to 34 inches legroom in economy and dynamic LED lighting that can mimic dawn and dusk. The aircraft also has environmental benefits as the Boeing 787 has a reduction of twenty percent in fuel and CO2 emissions1.
Gatwick and Thomson already serve Cancun, but from early July passengers will be able to fly to the popular Mexican destination on a scheduled long haul service on the Dreamliner before a new route to Phuket is opened for the winter in November.
The Dreamliner as an aircraft, along with Airbus A350s, are set to play a pivotal role for the future of aviation and how passengers travel, offering more access to direct flights to new destinations that are further afield. Airlines, which plan decades ahead, are investing heavily in these new generation long-range aircraft and moving away from the traditional ‘hub and spoke’ model that generates transfer passengers2.
Around 800 Dreamliners and more than 600 Airbus A350s are currently on order from airlines around the world – more than triple the orders for the Airbus ‘superjumbo’ A380.
London Gatwick has already proved that new direct long-haul routes from the UK can be supported by providing direct routes to Vietnam and China. From autumn 2013, Gatwick will also offer Europe’s first direct route to Jakarta, Indonesia.
Guy Stephenson, Chief Commercial Officer at London Gatwick, said: “This is an exciting milestone for us as this innovative aircraft offers our airlines even more potential to create new long haul routes in the future from Gatwick.
“We have already made great progress in opening new routes to key emerging markets such as China and Vietnam, and have a strong long-haul leisure business. We look forward to continuing this success and we continue to work closely with all of our airlines to provide the best passenger experience.”
David Burling, Managing Director of Thomson Airways’ parent company TUI UK and Ireland, joined passengers on-board the historic first flight. He commented: “Today has been several months and years in the planning and after a lot of hard work I am absolutely thrilled to celebrate the first flight from London Gatwick, which is a very important event in the company’s history. We’re very proud to be the first UK airline to fly the Dreamliner and will operate this state-of-the-art aircraft on short and mid haul routes in preparation for our inaugural long-haul flights to Cancun and Florida on 8th July.”