And the news has been greeted as the ‘biggest shot in the arm the Island’s tourism industry has received in years’ by Tourism board chairman Deputy Lyndon Farnham.The new airline is to be called Thomsonfly and will launch on 31 March next year from Coventry Airport.
It will also be great news for Islanders who want to fly cheaply to Mediterranean sunshine resorts.Thomsonfly will be using Boeing 737-500 jets and flying to the Island twice a day from Coventry.
The timings will allow visitors to make a day-trip to the Island as well as staying for longer.Thomson is owned by German holiday giant TUI and this will be its first plunge into the British low-cost airline market.
Aircraft and pilots will be provided from Britannia Airways, Europe’s largest charter airline, which TUI acquired when it bought Thomson Holidays in 2000.
As well as Jersey the new airline will fly to Palma, Valencia, Rome, Naples, Nice, Malaga, Venice, Pisa, Ibiza, and Marseilles.Travel industry experts believe TUI’s longer-term aim is to attack Ryanair and EasyJet, Europe’s biggest budget carriers.
There was widespread delight among Island tourism industry figures at today’s announcement.
‘It is fantastic news,’ said Jersey Tourism marketing director David de Carteret.
‘To have a brand like that prepared to invest in Jersey as part of major new undertaking is a huge boost,’.
Jersey Airport director Mike Lanyon said: ‘It is a huge tourism group and not just an airline.
The timings will be ideal for business travellers as well as tourists.’Mr Lanyon confirmed the Airport was approached about five weeks ago by Thomson representatives and a deal struck quickly.
He said the new airline will receive the normal 50 per cent discount available on Airport charges for new routes.Hotelier David Seymour, managing director of the Seymour Group and a member of the Tourism Board, said: ‘To be marketed as a destination by a company the size of Thomson is going to bring a lot of attention to Jersey.’