Holiday group TUI Travel intends to boost to 10 the number of Boeing 787s it has allocated to UK arm Thomson Airways, having raised its overall Dreamliner order by two to 15.
Thomson's managing director, John Murphy, confirmed the decision during a briefing on board a 787 bound for Palma de Mallorca.
Murphy adds that the carrier will have 10 of the type available from summer 2016. Thomson has used the 787 on all long-haul routes since July this year.
Thomson is looking at opening services to Malaysia and Vietnam, as well as broadening its Caribbean reach. Murphy says it is already intending to start a nonstop flight between London Gatwick and Costa Rica from the winter season.
TUI Travel has 60 Boeing 737 Max jets on order and 47 of these will be allocated to the UK carrier from 2018.
While Thomson is still finalising details of the planned configuration, it says it will start testing new concepts for the Max layout next year. The airline is planning a "refresh" of the cabin on its current 737s and 757s to make them "more modern and more contemporary", says Murphy.
Customer service director Carl Gissing says the carrier is to test a "private pod" idea for the 737 Max, converting three seats to two with a separating table. He says the carrier wants to conduct trials on its 737s and 757s "to see how appealing it is for customers". It is also looking at providing zoned seating.
Thomson's recent innovations have included equipping cabins crew at London Luton with handheld tablets to share destination information with customers, in an effort to provide a bridge between passengers' flight and their holiday.
Source: Cirium Dashboard