Today (October 31) marks the end of an era as the UK subsidiary of TUI says farewell to the Boeing 767 from their commercial operations, with the aircraft heading out tomorrow for storage.
From a significant and long-standing history, the aircraft has been a major part of the group, since the days of Britannia Airways.
Whilst the Dutch subsidiary is still keeping hold of their only 767, this is all part of a fleet modernisation process that has been in the works for quite some time now.
Without further ado, let’s get into it…
In Pictures: The Aircraft On Their Final Operations…
G-OBYF was at Manchester Airport operating sectors to the likes of Palma de Mallorca, before completing it’s final rotations to Heraklion.
Below are some images taken by AviationSource Editor-in-Chief James Field of the aircraft operating these final flights in the day time.
TUI UK & The Boeing 767…
The two TUI UK Boeing 767s that are due to be retired are G-OBYF and G-OBYK. Both aircraft have had an incredible history serving the Manchester community and beyond.
Courtesy of data from Planespotters.net, let’s take a look at both of their vast histories.
G-OBYF is at the time of writing a 25.4 year old airframe that started out life with Britannia Airways in June 1998, and was shortly re-registered to D-AGYF, under the German subsidiary.
By February 2000, it was leased out to Garuda Indonesia for two months before returning back to the carrier.
Such leasing arrangements continued with the Indonesian carrier, and throughout transitioned from Britannia Airways to Thomsonfly, Thomson Airways and then onto TUI Airways, which is the UK subsidiary of the company.
The aircraft has done multiple stints with the other subsidiaries in the TUI group, such as TUIfly Nordic back in March 2019, before returning back to the UK in April 2021.
G-OBYF has flown for a total of 94,133 hours, which is equivalent to over 10 years in the air. The aircraft has operated 20,501 flights, carrying more than 5.8m passengers as a result, flying over 50 million miles around the world.
For context, that is the equivalent of circling the Earth 2,000 times, or flying to the moon and back over 100 times.
As for G-OBYK, the 24.7 year old airframe started out life with Air 2000 in March 1999 as G-OOAL, before being handed over to First Choice Airways in March 2004.
By May 2005, the aircraft was handed over to Aeroflot on lease as VP-BWT, before being returned to TUIfly Nordic as SE-RFR in August 2011.
In November 2017, it returned back to the British register as G-OBYK with TUI Airways, and was sent again to TUIfly Nordic one more time before being permanently based in the UK since May 2021.
However, TUI’s relationship with the Boeing 767 began in February 1984 when the first aircraft was delivered to Britannia Airways, and at that point made them the first UK holiday airline to offer passengers free in-flight audio and video entertainment.
By 1985, the 767 acquired approval to go further distances around the world, which encouraged Britannia to operate long-haul flights as far as Australia and New Zealand. By July 1996, Britannia Airways took delivery of the first 767-300, which would be able to handle up to 328 passengers per flight.
As mentioned by TUI, this made the aircraft the “mainstay of the long-haul operation”, which served flights to the likes of Mexico and the United States before the Boeing 787 Dreamliner came into the foray.
In total, TUI, under the umbrella of Britannia Airways, Thomson, First Choice & TUI Airways, had a total of 31 Boeing 767 aircraft, highlighting the significant relationship between the airline and that aircraft type.
TUI confirmed to AviationSource that the aircraft won’t be going to the scrap, but instead will be sent for cargo conversion to continue what is believed to be a prosperous and fruitful latter side of it’s life.
As mentioned by the airline also, it is just the UK subsidiary that is retiring the aircraft type.
If you wish to see the aircraft under the TUI umbrella still, head on over to Amsterdam Schiphol Airport to see PH-OYJ, with the airline confirming that it will be operating well into next year.
The Aircraft Was A Privilege To Fly, Says Pilot…
Amongst pilots of the Boeing 767 at TUI, the common theme has been that the aircraft has been a pleasure to fly.
AviationSource got to sit down with Lewis Brown, a pilot at the airline, who gave his experiences of the aircraft type via a short interview conducted with him:
JF: How does it feel to be retiring an aircraft like the Boeing 767 from the fleet, a jet that has had a long-standing history with the TUI Group?
LB: It’s a privilege to be honest, and I’m so pleased to be part of retiring such a long serving airplane like the 767 after 36 amazing years flying for TUI. The 767 has a special place in my heart, and I’m sure everyone’s in TUI!
Everyone seems to have a special moment with the 767 whatever their role in the airline. It’s been such a versatile and capable airplane for us, and is an absolute pleasure to fly as a pilot.
Its size made it a great platform for a wide range of operations, this included short haul around Europe with 328 passengers, mid-haul to Cape Verde, and of course allowed us to expand into long haul.
It’s also operated for us (and our group airlines) as far afield as the Far East and Australia, the Caribbean, US, Mexico, and everywhere in between.
The 767 paved the way for us to operate the 787 Dreamliner we use today on our long haul flights, so it has an impressive legacy.
JF: Obviously we see replacements for this type such as the 737 MAX & 787 aircraft for this. How will this fleet choice bode well for the airline going into the future, especially on the perspective of sustainability etc?
LB: The transition of our fleet to the 737 MAX and 787 Dreamliner signifies a big step for us toward a more sustainable and efficient future for TUI Airways.
The 737 MAX’s LEAP-1B engines are a real advancement in fuel efficiency, saving on average 16% per flight compared to the previous generation 737, and even more compared to a 767.
The 787 Dreamliner has also revolutionised our long haul product, and provides a brilliant in-flight experience for our crews and customers alike.
These are both fantastic airplanes to take TUI Airways forward, and whilst we look back fondly with nostalgia at airplanes like the 757 we retired in 2021 and the 767 now, we also look forward with anticipation.
For example, the 787 will operate to Singapore this winter to take guests to our cruise ships.
JF: What is your favourite moment of the Boeing 767?
LB: For me personally there’s so many. It was the first wide body airplane I operated, and also the airplane I achieved my command on.
If I was to pick one favourite moment, I’d say my first long haul flight to Barbados in 2016. On the airport ramp in Barbados there were 7 TUI airplanes in a line together, both 767’s and 787’s.
That really felt like a symbolic ‘passing the torch’ moment in TUI from the 767 to the 787.
JF: Is there anything you would like to say regarding the exit of the 767 from the TUI UK fleet?
LB: Thank you! It’s been a pleasure and a privilege to fly the 767 for TUI. Thankyou also to everyone who’s been involved with the fleet, in any capacity, over the past 36 years.
Although we are all looking forward to the future and are excited for our biggest ever summer flying program in 2024, the 767 leaves an unforgettable stamp on the airline!
We’re all hugely appreciative for the many years of safe and successful service it has powered, and will remember it fondly.
However, don’t forget we still have one 767 operating with our sister airline TUI Netherlands for one more year, so the TUI colours 767 will be a welcome sight around Europe for a little while yet.
What Does The TUI UK Fleet Look Like Now?
With the Boeing 767 now exiting the TUI UK network, what does their fleet of aircraft look like now? As per data from Planespotters.net, it is as follows:
- 26 Boeing 737-800s.
- 18 Boeing 737 MAX 8s.
- Eight Boeing 787-8 Dreamliners.
- Five Boeing 787-9 Dreamliners.
What we can see is that the airline is slowly but surely continuing on its strategy of fleet modernisation through the introduction of the 787 & 737 MAX family aircraft.
The airline still has a couple more aircraft on the way, which will add to that strategy further going into the future.
It remains clear that the Boeing 767 has had quite the lengthy history with TUI UK.
From entering life under the Britannia Airways umbrella, to handling well over five million passengers in its lifespan, it does mark the end of an era for this aircraft type at the airline.
That being said however, through the utilisation of more fuel-efficient aircraft such as the 787 & 737 MAX, the carrier is destined for great things as the next set of next-generation aircraft continue to serve the millions of holidaymakers that they serve every year.
But for now, G-OBYF & G-OBYK can have a little breather, before embarking on its next journey into the world of cargo.
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