No-frills Thomsonfly in £4m 'aspirational' ads

Thomsonfly, the new no-frills airline from TUI, is seeking to emulate the aspirational appeal of Go, the brand subsumed by easyJet last year.

TUI is to use a £4m campaign through BMP DDB to lure young couples and 'empty nesters' to its city destinations.

Unlike easyJet and Ryanair, Thomsonfly offers pre-allocated seats and will fly to primary airports in cities such as Nice, Venice and Valencia.

Thomsonfly, unveiled on Tuesday by the German travel giant, will begin operating from Coventry Airport next year, but could fly from up to eight UK airports by 2007.

The TV ad campaign, which will break on January 2 initially targeting the Central region, features Go-style dancing graphics and a 50s movie soundtrack.

Media for the Thomsonfly campaign is by Media Planning Group.

"We want to get back to the glamour of flying," said TUI UK marketing director Hugh Edwards. "We are looking at the marketing success of Go in terms of stand-out and there will be a service element in line with the Thomson power brand."

Thomsonfly will be run by chief commercial officer Alex Hunter, former business development director at TUI Northern Europe.

Maria Heckel, TUI's business development manager, becomes marketing director, reporting indirectly to Edwards.

Go launched in 1997 and grew rapidly, creating fame for Olympic bid chairman Barbara Cassani, but was acquired by easyJet last year.

Thomsonfly will start operating with two aircraft. It expects to carry half a million passengers in its first year, although it plans to grow rapidly.

One-way fares will start at £19.99 to Rome, Pisa and Marseille and £22.99 to Naples, Valencia and Palma.

The launch of Thomsonfly comes as consumer demand for low-cost flights and independent holidays is growing, in contrast to the package holiday market. TUI will only spend £4.5m promoting Lunn Poly, its main retail brand, next year.

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