The Boeing 787's first touchdown on UK soil was a landmark moment for Chris Browne, managing director at UK launch operator Thomson Airways. Her carrier will introduce the type to the UK skies in January 2012, vying with LOT Polish Airlines to become European launch operator.
Thomson Airways will take its eight 787-8s by 2014, trialling the type on "safe" established routes such as Florida and Canada before sending it out to new destinations, says Browne. Although not finalised, Borneo, Brazil, Cambodia, Costa Rica, Hawaii, South Africa and Vietnam are in the frame and the final cut will be made by next summer. Browne says: "We want to make sure we operate it as effectively as we can. Why buy a Rolls-Royce, only to operate it as a Mini?"
TUI Group, which owns Thomson Airways, has 13 787-8s on order and purchase rights on 13 more. The remaining five on firm order, due to arrive from 2014 onwards, will go to other group carriers, most likely, Arkefly, Jetairfly or TUIfly Nordic.