Boeing to partner with TUI Travel on next ecoDemonstrator programme to test new environmental technologies
(photo: TUI Travel)
Thu 11 Dec 2013 – Boeing is to partner with international leisure operator TUI Travel on the next stage of its ecoDemonstrator programme. The travel group, which operates six European carriers including Thomson Airways, will share insights to help promote wider adoption of sustainable aircraft technologies. The purpose of ecoDemonstrator is to flight test new innovations that can improve airplane performance and accelerate their introduction. The aircraft type selected for the next phase of the programme is a Boeing 757 – not from the TUI fleet – which will be fitted with a selection of technologies over the course of the next year before beginning technical validation and operational testing in 2015.
Also in 2015, the airplane will visit a number of cities in Europe to showcase the new environmental technologies. Although Boeing has yet to reveal what innovations it is likely to test, it is expected that they will include active flow technology applied to an aircraft’s vertical tail that could lead to improved fuel performance and reduced noise levels. Boeing and NASA have recently completed wind tunnel testing of a reclaimed Boeing 757 tail in Ames, California (see article).
On completion of the ecoDemonstrator development programme, a test will be carried out for improving recovery and reuse of the aircraft’s materials.
“This agreement with TUI Travel reflects our shared commitment and leadership to improving commercial aviation’s environmental performance and sustainability,” commented Jeanne Yu, Director of Environmental Performance, Product Development for Boeing Commercial Airplanes.
TUI is one of Boeing’s major European customers and it recently announced plans to add two more 787 Dreamliners to an earlier commitment to purchase 15 of Boeing’s newest aircraft. This year has also seen the leisure group commit to purchasing 60 – with the option to purchase a further 90 – Boeing 737 MAX aircraft. In addition, TUI will retrofit its Boeing 737 NG aircraft with Aviation Partners Boeing’s new Split Scimitar winglets (see article), with modified aircraft flying from next March.
“The ecoDemonstrator programme sets a benchmark in research and development – it has the potential to drive meaningful change in the industry and we look forward to being part of the programme,” said Johan Lundgren, Deputy Chief Executive of TUI Travel. “It is a fantastic example of innovation which plays a significant role in mapping out the future of air travel, not just for Boeing and TUI Travel, but for the industry as a whole.”
For the 2012 ecoDemonstrator programme, American Airlines loaned a new 737-800 NG aircraft to Boeing to test technologies such as variable area fan nozzles, active engine vibration reduction and a regenerative fuel cell, as well as testing of flight trajectory optimisation to enable more fuel-efficient routings. The FAA CLEEN (Continuous Lower Energy, Emissions and Noise) programme provided funding for testing an adaptive trailing edge that improves wing performance to reduce noise and fuel burn, as well as some flight test costs. CLEEN also participated in the 2013 programme by providing cost-share funding for the testing of a Boeing 787-8 ceramic matrix engine exhaust nozzle and its related flight test costs.