Another approach has been retrofitting: older aircraft types have been retrofitted with new technology, e.g. innovative split-scimitar winglets. These winglets help to save fuel. However, the focus is not only up in the air. After all, the environment can also benefit greatly from improvements on the ground. TUI has, for instance, worked in cooperation with Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport and waste contractor Suez to introduce a recycling facility to separate paper, glass, cans and plastics from TUI’s planes so that those waste streams can be recycled. Additionally, the Group is seeking to cut back paper consumption. “Apart from modifying the planes themselves, technology also plays a crucial role for flight operations and scheduling. For instance, tablets and smartphones are now used for flight inventory management, crew registration, inflight sales and a number of other previously paper-based activities”, says Magdalena Golebiewska, TUI Group Environment and Fuel Manager. Dozens of other environmental measures have also been launched: e.g. regularly washing the engines to cut fuel consumption, using lighter seats, single-engine taxiing (saving 40kg of fuel per take off) and optimising the amount of water carried on board to reduce weight on the aircraft.
The long-term challenge for aviation is to find sustainable alternatives to jet fuels. TUI engages in research programmes regarding fuels of the future. For example, our participation in the AlgaePARC project in Bonaire is working to develop sustainable aviation fuel from algae and as part of our ecoDemonstrator programme with Boeing a new type of sustainable fuel was tested. However, there is a long way to go. After all, the fuels of the future will have to compete with jet fuel both in economic and qualitative terms. Up to 50 parameters have to be certified before a fuel is approved for use. Until reaching this breakthrough, TUI’s top priority is and remains to reduce fuel consumption as much as possible.