What Happened to Air 2000?
Air 2000 operated charter flights from the UK for over 17 years, picking up many industry awards along the way. Started in 1987, Air 2000, based in Manchester, England continued until 2004 until it was renamed as First Choice Airways.
Air 2000 was launched in April 1987 by 'Owners Abroad (who later rebranded to First Choice)' with 2 aircraft, the charter airlines favorite - Boeing 757. In 1988 another 2 aircraft were added to the fleet with one of the 757's being based at Glasgow Airport.
Air 2000 were very ambitious and introduced some long haul flights to Kenya & Mombasa in 1988. The Boeings were upgraded so that longer flights could be possible and started a service to the USA in 1989.
The company rapidly grew and in 1992 they were granted a licence by the Civil Aviation Authority to operate a scheduled service, which duly commenced in 1993, between Gatwick and Paphos.
Further expansion occurred in 1998 when Air 2000's owners, First Choice purchased Unijet, a rival tour operator at the time. This purchase also included Unijets own airline, Leisure International Airways. The acquired aircraft were soon sporting the Air 2000 livery.
The Air 2000 livery was then freshened up in 2003, with all the aircraft in the fleet being repainted, however this was a very short change, because in 2004, First Choice decided to capitalise on the strength of the First Choice brand and subsequently rebranded Air 2000 as First Choice Airways!
When First Choice merged with the UK travel arm of TUI in 2007, the First Choice Airways brand was merged with Thomson's fleet, to become Thomson Airways. Initially the First Choice aircraft continued with their old livery, but operated as Thomson Airways with stickers placed near the entry doors and on the seat pocket safety cards to clarify that the flight is operated by Thomson Airways!