With the TUI retirement of its final Boeing 757 GOOBB, delivered in 2001, the last vestiges of the once mighty Britannia Airways has finally departed to the great hangar in the sky.
Britannia Airways was created in 1951 as Euravia, and was soon the world’s largest holiday airline. As Britannia it became part of the Thompson Group, renamed Thomson Airways from 2004 until 2008, and since then has operated as Tui Airways.
Other airlines also were part of the mix as they were gobbled up or found themselves in difficulties, including Orion Airways, Air 2000 and Leisure International Airways.
The twin-engined Boeing 757 first flew in February 1982 and was designed to replace the trijet Boeing 727 with the Boeing 707 cross section. This is still retained to this day with the Boeing 737 MAX. There are still many in the airframe industry who say that closing the production line was a mistake, a developed 757 offering much the same passenger capacity as the latest MAX variant, and vastly cheaper to develop.
Luton Airport is synonymous with Britannia, its home base throughout its life, the aircraft able to operate from what is a restricted runway to the Caribbean Islands.
At its peak Britannia operated 18 235-seat Boeing 757s, the mainstay of its fleet.