The private jet industry has faced increasing scrutiny as the worst polluting aviation sector, but the CEO of a business aircraft operator has said that the criticism is misplaced.
Patrick Hansen, CEO of Luxaviation, claimed at the Financial Times ‘Business of Luxury’ summit in Monaco that one of his clients is responsible for around 2.1 tons of CO₂ per year, or as much as three dogs.
According to the aviation leader, his figures were based on a book by an English researcher and writer on carbon footprinting, Mike Berners-Lee.
In Berners-Lee’s book, ‘How Bad are Bananas?’, a dog kept as a household pet produces around 700kg of carbon emission.
The writer responded in an email to the Financial Times that he was “disappointed” to hear his data was being used for “bogus claims”.
He also was surprised at the figure quoted by the Luxaviation CEO and must be for “very short flights and very small planes”.
Hansen also argued that private jet flights were not going away because they provide a huge time-saving facility for wealthy people and data around private jet emissions needed to be “put into perspective”.
The private jet industry is acutely aware of objections towards the sector’s carbon footprint and much of the focus at business aviation fair EBACE2023 was placed on sustainability.
On May 23, 2023, protesters from environmental campaign groups such as Greenpeace and Extinction Rebellion chained themselves to private jets that were being displayed at the Genevan event.
According to studies cited by campaigning groups, private flights produce about 10 times the CO2 of a commercial flight per passenger kilometer.
In March 2023, Greenpeace commissioned a report looking at the effect of private jets on pollution.
The ‘CO2 emissions of private aviation in Europe’ report by Dutch environmental consultancy CE Delft claimed that private jets emitted around 3,385,538 tons of CO2 emissions during 2022, more than double that of 2021.
The research also asserts that the total number of private jet flights in Europe reached 572,806, over 1.5 times the number of flights in 2021.
Following publication of the report, the European Business Aviation Association (EBAA) hit back at the findings.
The EBBA accused Greenpeace of “spreading misleading data about business aviation” and not taking information into account from before the pandemic, creating a “distorted picture”.
The EBBA claims that European business aviation grew by 7% from 2019 to January 2023, rather than 64% as the report suggests.