TUI Travel is evaluating the deployment of Boeing 787s from Germany on long-haul flights to holiday destinations.
Having taken delivery of its first two Dreamliners at the end of May, with a further nine on order, the leisure travel group's chief executive Peter Long says: "We are introducing it first where we have long-haul programmes." But he adds that later deliveries could be deployed to start long-haul leisure flights with its TUIfly subsidiary.
It will initially be flown short-haul by UK-based Thomson Airways, another of TUI Travel's six European airlines, to the Spanish island of Menorca before being used on Thomson long-haul services to Florida and Mexico in July.
Long describes the aircraft as a "game-changer" for the leisure industry allowing airlines to "open up new markets and unique destinations further afield". He says that lower cabin pressure in the 787 reduces the effects of jet-lag which is appealing to holidaymakers while the increased range will allow those that do not want stopovers to fly further. As further 787s arrive, Long says these will be operated to west Mexico and destinations in Asia.
Long was speaking at the Paris air show, where TUI was signing a firm contract for the its recently announced order for 60 Boeing 737 Max aircraft. He says the 40 Max-8s and 20 Max-9s will arrive from 2018 as leases on its airlines' current aircraft expire. The deal includes options for another 60 aircraft, which Long says will be considered only when the firm orders begin arriving, but are likely to be exercised.