, the self-proclaimed ‘best-known name in travel’, is to expand its base at Newcastle International Airport from mid-2011, adding a fourth plane and reintroducing flights to the Bulgarian city of Bourgas.
A press release on the airport’s website reveals that Thomas Cook will now be able to offer 300,000 seats on 54 flights.
Speaking about the expansion, Thomas Cook CEO Ian Derbyshire thanked the “people of the northeast” for showing “great loyalty” to the airline. “This underlines our commitment to Newcastle Airport,” Ian explained.
The new plane will add 70,000 seats during the peak summer season, allowing Thomas Cook to put on more flights to eight ‘sun and sea’ destinations.
Routes to Larnaca and Paphos in Cyprus, the Canary Island of Tenerife, locations on the Spanish Balearic Islands, Ibiza, Mahón and Palma, and the cities of Izmir and Dalaman in western Turkey will all benefit from extra seats in 2011.
Bourgas (also Burgas) in eastern Bulgaria is perhaps the most surprising addition to Newcastle’s books, as an earlier route to the city from the northeast was unceremoniously cancelled sometime in 2010.
Newcastle’s chief, David Laws, referred to the expansion of Thomas Cook services at the airport as a “fantastic coup” and a “tremendous boost” for the local area.
Thomas Cook will be hoping that its new routes and Newcastle’s 75th birthday celebrations will help deflect attention from a recent travel guide faux pas, in which the holiday company described Glasgow as ‘deprived’ with high levels of violent crime and rampant substance abuse.
Bourgas is not yet available for booking on the Thomas Cook website, but tickets for all routes due to be expanded next year (Larnaca, for example) can be purchased online.