Air 2000 1987 Colours “AIR2BOB” v1.0
The airline began operations on 11 April 1987, launched by the Owners Abroad Group using two Boeing 757 aircraft. The fleet doubled a year later, with one aircraft based at Glasgow International Airport. The airline set up a subsidiary in Canada later that year, to be called Air 2000 Airline Ltd. This subsidiary lasted only a few days before the Canadian government suspended its licence. A second attempt had more success becoming Canada 3000.
Long haul services to Mombasa in Kenya were introduced during the 1988/89 season. The 757s were re-equipped for extended range and flights to the United States began in 1989. The airline was granted a licence for scheduled operations by the CAA in 1992, which commenced on 3 October 1993, initially between London-Gatwick and Larnaca (and later that month Paphos), Cyprus. Scheduled services were distinguished by the use of the ‘DP’ identifier with the flight number, while purely-charter flights used the ‘AMM’ identifier. Over the next few years scheduled routes to Cyprus from Birmingham, Glasgow, Manchester and Newcastle were introduced. In 2000 additional scheduled services were introduced from eight UK airports to six major Spanish and Portuguese holiday destinations.
In 1998 First Choice acquired rival tour operator Unijet including their in-house airline Leisure International Airways. Some of the Leisure International Airways fleet, including future orders, were incorporated into Air 2000, and repainted into the ‘Tapestry’ colours.
Air 2000 received a new livery, ‘Starfish, in the spring of 2003. This was short-lived with ‘air2000’ titling; as in 2004 Air 2000 was renamed First Choice Airways, albeit retaining the actual livery until the eventual merger with Thomsonfly in 2008.