Thomas Cook are the largest long-haul carrier flying out of Manchester. Of course there are others with a sizeable presence such as American Airlines and Virgin Atlantic, but Thomas Cook really are a prized possession at the Northern Hub. Manchester Airport even refers to them as ‘the gift that keeps on giving’ on Twitter.
In recent years, they have embarked on mass route development, and now offer many long haul routes from Manchester which generally increase year-on-year. In summer 2017 they will be offering the following routes to the US, with many more to Mexico and the Caribbean:
- New York JFK
- Orlando International
- Los Angeles
- San Francisco
- Las Vegas
And if that isn’t enough, beginning 27th May 2018, Thomas Cook will offer 2x weekly flights between Manchester and Seattle. Flights will operate on Thursdays and Sundays, with the Airbus A330-200 aircraft. As it currently stands, there will be some flights operated with Thomas Cook’s own A330 aircraft and others operated by A330s that Thomas Cook leases for the busy summer period.
The services will:
- Leave Manchester (MAN) at 1210, arrive Seattle-Tacoma (SEA) at 1340.
- Leave Seattle-Tacoma (SEA) at 1540, arrive Manchester (MAN) at 0845 the next day.
What is interesting about Thomas Cook’s growth at Manchester is the amount of transfer passengers they are receiving. Many passengers are connecting through Manchester, using Flybe’s regional network, which has lead to the marked turn away from the purely tourist market, and following Condor’s model serving destinations such as Seattle. It is also exciting for Manchester, as Seattle is only served from MAN outside of London throughout the UK and the tech links between the two cities are prominent.
Thomas Cook’s CEO – Christopher Debus – said:
“We are proud to be continuing our expansion to the USA by launching Seattle as a new destination next year. Our German Condor operation has served Seattle for many years and the year-round service has been really popular with our passengers. We work closely with partner airlines, such as Alaska Airlines, based in Seattle is an important partner offering our customers even more choice to the likes of British Columbia, Alberta, Alaska and Hawaii.”
Manchester Airport’s Managing Director – Collette Roche – said:
“To secure a direct route to Seattle is further testament to the role Manchester Airport plays in the North and UK as a whole. We have grown the number of seats on sale to US destinations at a greater rate than any other UK airport this year. This is hugely positive news for the 22m passengers in our catchment area – which spans from Scotland to the Midlands and Merseyside to Yorkshire, and the millions of people a year who connect to our long haul network from locations across the UK and Europe.”
There are still some gaps in Thomas Cook’s schedule for their A330 aircraft, and widely tipped is a Manchester-Tampa route, so we will have to wait and see. But what is certain is that Thomas Cook has shown Manchester can be made into a long-haul hub for the North and other airlines are following.
Is anyone excited about Thomas Cook’s expansion at Manchester? Do you think they will continue to expand? Get in touch via the comment section below or social media to have your say.
Featured photo from ethanegcc Instagram.