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TUI Airways Retires Final Boeing 767

U.K.-based airline transitions to more efficient Boeing 787 Dreamliners.

A TUI Boeing 767 on final approach into Miami. (Photo: AirlineGeeks | William Derrickson)

UK-based TUI Airways retired its final Boeing 767 aircraft. The particular aircraft in question has been operating for 40 years, and its retirement leaves the United Kingdom without any active passenger 767s.

The TUI group has operated 35 Boeing 767 aircraft, distributed through three subsidiaries. 767s have flown for the airline and its predecessors for 40 years, with the first being delivered in 1984. The final 767 flew for nearly half a dozen airlines within TUI’s portfolio before being retired.

The 767 flew its last passenger service from Greece to Manchester, UK on Oct. 31. On November 1, it was flown to Turkey for maintenance, where it will be converted to a freighter.

Airline Fleet Planning

TUI’s long-haul fleet now consists entirely of Boeing 787 Dreamliners, which are younger and more fuel efficient. TUI’s change is emblematic of a wider shift throughout the aviation industry, which has seen airlines shifting towards planes that will save them money. Fuel savings are of particular importance for long haul aircraft, which are flying all day to far-flung destinations.

A TUI Boeing 767-300 preparing to depart from Manchester Airport (Photo: AirlineGeeks | James Dinsdale)

These long-haul aircraft also tend to have longer lifespans than short-haul airplanes: since they might only be pressurized once per day for a seven-hour-plus flight, lounghaul airplanes develop fewer microcracks than shorthaul aircraft that are pressurized multiple times per day. Thus, having a more-efficient plane saves airlines money on particular flights as well as over decades of operations.

If picked up by the right carrier, this final aircraft can likely continue to operate for decades to come. Freight carriers especially are, after all, more likely to pick up older aircraft towards the end of their service lives. This is because freighters usually don’t fly as much as passenger longhaul planes, so the lower purchase price of an older jet is more advantageous than fuel savings.

The 757 vs the 767

TUI operated Boeing 757 airplanes inherited from predecessors until 2021. The 757 and 767 are quite similar aircraft; in fact, there is a single type rating that covers both airplanes, meaning that a pilot is simultaneously certified to operate both. This is something not seen for other aircraft; usually, a single type rating covers a singular family of aircraft, meaning that a pilot typed only on the Airbus A320 can operate everything from an A318 to an A321 but nothing else.

The 757 and 767 are both often used for long-haul routes, with the major difference being that the 757 only has one aisle, while the 767 has two. The 767, thus, has more seats, and is usually used on long haul routes that have higher demand, while the 757 covers some lower-demand segments.

A TUI Boeing 757 gets de-iced.
(Photo: AirlineGeeks | William Derrickson)

Both aircraft types have come to be known as workhorses in airline fleets. In the United States, 757s and 767s are often the oldest airplanes in airlines’ fleet. Delta and United plan to retain their aircraft until the end of the decade. The planes have undeniable value as both passenger and freight aircraft, and they are spoken of highly by the crews that operate them.

John McDermott


  • John McDermott

    John McDermott is a student at Northwestern University. He is also a student pilot with hopes of flying for the airlines. A self-proclaimed "avgeek," John will rave about aviation at length to whoever will listen, and he is keen to call out any airplane he sees, whether or not anyone around him cares about flying at all. John previously worked as a Journalist and Editor-In-Chief at Aeronautics Online Aviation News and Media. In his spare time, John enjoys running, photography, and watching planes approach Chicago O'Hare from over Lake Michigan.

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