TUI Travel has ruled out First Choice as the overall name for its merged airline.

UK managing director Dermot Blastland hinted that Thomson was the more likely brand to be used after confirming the company does not intend to use First Choice in the name for the merged airline of First Choice Airways and

But branding on the sides of aircraft is still under review and First Choice could still appear on aircraft, he admitted.

He said: “The airline is not going to become First Choice Airways although we could still keep that name. Whether the First Choice name stays on the side of the aircraft or not is still being reviewed.”

The airline is the one area of the business likely to be run under one brand name, while both retail brands Thomson and First Choice are being retained on the high-street.

TUI Travel now has the UK’s third largest airline, with 80 aircraft, and has 23 more on order for 2009.

TUI Travel chief executive Peter Long is currently managing a 100-day review of the entire business and is due to reveal his strategy for the future business at the end of January next year.