TUI partnered with Boeing and NASA on their ecoDemonstrator 757 programme, an initiative where an aircraft was specifically build to test emerging innovations aimed at reducing carbon emissions and noise in commercial aviation. At the end of the programme the aircraft was dismantled and where possible recycled.
These partnerships are incredibly valuable and this one in particular gave TUI the opportunity to influence the choice of technologies being researched and tested and as such help with our objective to continuously drive improvement through our fleet.
In the framework of the program 15 different technologies were tested - two of those very different technologies are used in order to reduce drag. The first was testing aspects of active flow control over the tail wing to progressively shrink it in size and in doing so increase overall efficiency by cutting fuel use and emissions. The second was to test a NASA developed coating to reduce drag from insect soiling on the wings. After 6 months of testing and 183 flights the outcome was a rudder 20% more efficient and 40% less soiling from insects. The 757 was then dismantled with 90% of parts able to be reused or recycled.
These successful innovations find their way into the mainstream as part of a constant programme to improve the sustainability in aircraft design and with each initiative of this nature we can expect the future to bring continuing improvements, both economic and environmental.