End Of An Era: TUI Airways Retires Its Last Boeing 757

The UK’s TUI Airways retired its last Boeing 757-200 on October 4th. While the withdrawal of the type has been on the cards for some time, it has now happened. This means that TUI Airways’ fleet consists of the B737-800, B737 MAX 8, B767-300ER, and the B787.

TUI Airways TUI
Taking off from Innsbruck was G-OOBA, used until September 2021. Photo: BriYYZ via Flickr.

TUI Airways has retired the B757-200

Everything must come to an end, and for TUI Airways’ long-standing and iconic Boeing 757s, that day has come. In the early morning of October 4th, G-OOBB arrived in Birmingham at 00:54 from Paphos as flight BY7723, Flightradar24 shows.

This final revenue-generating flight came less than nine hours after the carrier’s other remaining aircraft, G-OOBP, touched down in Gatwick for the last time. It arrived from the Greek island of Heraklion at 16:15 as BY4707.

Both of these last services came a few days after the final operations of a third aircraft: G-OOBN. On September 30th, this aircraft operated Gatwick to Kefalonia as BY4404, then Kefalonia-Birmingham-Gatwick as BY4405. On October 1st, it departed Gatwick for the final time as BY622P. Its destination: St Athan, Wales, for conversion to a freighter.

The final commercial flight of TUI's 757s
The final flight back to the UK covered 1,806nm and took four hours and 22 minutes. Image: Radarbox.com.

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A look at TUI Airways’ 757s

TUI Airways itself had 14 B757-200s in total, ch-aviation.com indicates. They had 221 seats, with 28″ pitch in economy and 33″ to 34″ in extra legroom. Details of the last three aircraft are below.

  • G-OOBB: 20.80 years old and delivered to Air 2000 in 2001; owned by GECAS
  • G-OOBN: 21.57 years; delivered to Balair Leisure in April 2000 as HB-IHR; Blackrock
  • G-OOBP: 21.53 years; delivered to Balair Leisure in April 2000 as HB-IHS; Blackrock

The history of TUI Airways is important in understanding the carrier’s B757s and their lineage. It was called Britannia Airways until 2005, after which the name Thomsonfly was used until 2008. The year 2008 saw the airline merge with First Choice (which was renamed from Air 2000) to create Thomson Airways. This brand remained until 2017 when it was renamed TUI Airways.

Looking at the last three aircraft, Bravo Bravo was used by Air 2000 and then First Choice. It also had a stint with Canada’s Skyservice (2003-2010). Bravo Bravo entered Thomson Airways’ fleet in 2010, when both Bravo November and Bravo Papa began to be used.

TUI Airways B757
This specific aircraft (G-OOBB) operated the last commercial flight. Fittingly, it flew back to Birmingham, whose ICAO code is EGBB. Photo: Alan Wilson via Flickr.

A pilot’s memory of the 757

It’s always good to look at the human side of what are, effectively, otherwise just machines. One TUI B757 pilot commented on LinkedIn today about his love of flying the narrowbody. As Ian Taggart, Senior First Officer and Flight Safety Officer, said:

“The end of an era as the B757 leaves us here at TUI. What a fantastic aircraft. It was a privilege to fly. As a pilot, it was an aircraft that always looked after you… it offered great flexibility from its performance.

“Highlights [for me] have to be the variety it provided and the brilliant crew who shared the pleasure of the fleet. From days up to the Arctic Circle or to Skiathos or down to Boa Vista, it has been a lot of fun.”

TUI 757
Seen in Lanzarote in 2017 was G-OOBP. Between 2017 and 2021, Manchester had the most 757 seats. Photo: Rob Hodgkins via Flickr.

Gatwick to Cape Verde had the most 757 seats

Between 2017 and 2021, TUI Airways used the 757 on around 132 routes from the UK, according to data experts Cirium. The top five by total seats for sale were Gatwick to Boa Vista, Gatwick to Tenerife South, Manchester to Boa Vista, Birmingham to Palma, and Birmingham to Tenerife South.

What is your best memory of TUI Airways’ 757s? Let us know in the comments.