The reduction was due to operational efficiencies, fuel conservation activities, capacity amendments and airline enhancements, according to the group’s latest Sustainable Holidays report.

Due to meeting its goals early, the Group has raised its target to a 9% relative carbon reduction by 2015, giving the company two years to save an additional 3%.

During 2013 the Group has made significant investments in cutting edge aviation technology such as the Boeing 787 Dreamliner aircraft, which is forecast to emit 20% less CO2 per passenger than comparable aircraft today.

It has also committed to purchasing 60 Boeing 737 MAX aircraft, with improved fuel-efficiency, which are scheduled for delivery in 2018.

Meanwhile, 89% of TUI Travel’s current aircraft have been fitted with fuel-saving winglets, largely an investment in Split Scimitar Winglets, which reduce fuel burn by an additional 2%.

The efficiency measures have dropped CO2 emissions per revenue passenger kilometre (RPK) to 73g across TUI Travel airlines – making its airlines some of the most fuel-efficient in Europe, it claims.

Since the launch of its Sustainable Holidays Plan last year, over two million customers have stayed in hotels with sustainability certifications, an increase of 800,000, while the company featured over 850 hotels which have sustainability certifications in brochures and on websites.

TUI Travel’s director of group sustainable development Jane Ashton, said: “Travel and tourism accounts for 9% of the world’s GDP and 6% of its exports. Tourism also accounts for one in 11 jobs globally and is the main source of foreign exchange in one-third of developing countries. The leisure travel industry can have both positive and negative impacts on communities and the natural environment – the challenge is how to manage these impacts for the greater good.

“Many of our targets are on track, but some are proving challenging, and in those instances we will re-double our efforts to make further progress by 2015.

“Meanwhile the global sustainability challenges remain as pressing as ever – for example, the impacts of eco-system degradation and climate change on the environment and communities in our holiday destinations, and on the holiday experience,” added Ashton.

For more on TUI Travel’s environmental wins and challenges read ‘In conversation with TUI Travel’s group environment manager James Whittingham’

Leigh Stringer

Action inspires action. Stay ahead of the curve with sustainability and energy newsletters from edie