Summer Of Short Haul – TUI UK Focuses Widebodies On European Routes

TUI UK plans a record summer for widebody operations across Europe, with 48 routes and over 1.4 million seats scheduled. While Manchester will be king, Birmingham will be second and will have nine routes. Widebody seats to Spain, Turkey, and Cyprus are up strongly, with Manchester-Dalaman TUI’s top widebody route.

TUI B767
TUI plans 48 widebody routes from the UK across Europe this summer, with its B767-300ERs providing the most seats. Photo: Getty Images

TUI Airways has scheduled 48 widebody routes from UK airports across Europe for this summer, filings with OAG show, with flights from five UK airports: Birmingham; Bristol; Gatwick; Glasgow; and Manchester. Glasgow hasn’t seen many TUI widebodies across Europe since 2013.

TUI expects to have over 1.4 million short-haul widebody seats this summer, by far the most in recent years, although the situation may change. Capacity starts to rise from May, coinciding with warmer weather and with May being the earliest UK citizens may be able to go on a foreign holiday. But it’s June onwards that it really is expected to ramp up.

Most seats will be flown by its 328-seat B767-300ERs, although its B787-8s will be only slightly behind. Its larger B787 variant, the 345-seat -9, is due to have the fewest, but still over 320,000 across 16 routes.

TUI's big development
TUI’s widebody capacity from the UK across Europe has increased significantly as it seeks out countries that are opening borders, or at least expect to, this summer. Source: OAG Schedules Analyzer

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TUI Airways’ Europe widebody network

Manchester will be all-important in TUI’s widebody operation this summer. It’s due to have two-thirds of the total seats, distantly followed by Birmingham (13.4%), Gatwick (13.0%), Glasgow (3.8%), and Bristol (3.5%). Manchester will have all of the carrier’s B767-300ER routes and by far the lion’s share of B787-9 capacity.

While Manchester features 12 times in TUI’s top-15 route list, Birmingham is interesting. It expects nine widebody routes, the same as Gatwick, with Birmingham to Palma top. Back in summer 2019, Birmingham had no intra-Europe widebody service, while Gatwick had 20, including the likes of Kos, Naples, and Pula.

TUI’s 48 widebody routes are down from 50 in summer 2019, but up from 37 in S18.

TUI's widebody routes from the UK across Europe
TUI Airways has 48 short-haul widebody routes scheduled from the UK this summer. Manchester has half. Image: GCMap

Widebodies to seven European countries

TUI’s widebodies are due to visit seven European countries this summer. As you’d expect, Spain is number one by capacity, followed in order by Turkey, Greece, Cyprus, Bulgaria, Italy, and Croatia.

TUI expects nearly 60% more widebody capacity to Spain than in summer 2019. Its widebody network to the country has reduced from 19 to 18, but the average capacity per route has risen greatly to nearly 16,000 seats. Manchester-Palma is its second-thickest route, the same place as two summers ago, but Manchester to Ibiza – which was first – is now 13th.

The top route spot has been taken by Manchester-Dalaman, which was 15th. This reflects a big change to Turkey.

TUI's widebody routes
This summer, Manchester is due to have half of TUI’s short-haul widebody routes and 66% of the seats.           Source: OAG Schedules Analyzer

Turkey stands out

Despite the rise of Spain, it’s Turkey that really stands out. The country has jumped from third to second on the back of capacity rising by 133%. Routes have increased from six to 11, including Birmingham and Glasgow to both Antalya and Dalaman and Bristol to Dalaman. This growth follows Turkey saying recently that it’ll welcome UK tourists this summer as restrictions are lifted, showing how responsive to changes airlines can and must be.

Dalaman will now be TUI UK’s second-largest destination airport for widebodies this summer, with Antalya third. In summer 2019, Dalaman was sixth. Dalaman, a traditionally British destination, has seen TUI’s widebody capacity increase from 64,000 seats to 186,000.

Cyprus has also grown well, with the country recently saying that it wouldn’t impose any quarantine on UK citizens and it wouldn’t require any testing. TUI’s widebody capacity there is up by 103%, with Paphos jumping from the 11th-largest airport in summer 2019 to sixth.

TUI 787
While Manchester is TUI’s top airport for short-haul widebody operations this summer, Birmingham follows. Photo: Riik@mctr via Wikimedia

Mid-August schedules

In a randomly chosen August week, all 48 widebody routes are scheduled to operate. 13 routes will have a three+ weekly service, topped by Manchester to both Dalaman and Palma with six apiece. A further while 15 will operate twice-weekly while 20 will be once-weekly. Birmingham, Bristol, and Glasgow are due the following:

  • Birmingham-Palma: three-weekly
  • Birmingham-Antalya, Bourgas, Dalaman, and Tenerife South: twice-weekly
  • Birmingham-Lanzarote, Malaga, Paphos, Rhodes: once-weekly
  • Bristol-Palma: twice-weekly
  • Bristol-Dalaman and Rhodes: once-weekly
  • Glasgow-Palma: twice-weekly
  • Glasgow-Antalya, Dalaman: once-weekly

Will you be taking advantage of widebody comfort on a short-haul hop this summer?