A private jet executive has dismissed criticism that his industry has been a major emitter of greenhouse gases, claiming that pets pollute as much if not more as demand for luxury transportation increases.
Patrick Hansen, CEO of Luxembourg-based Luxaviation, told the Financial Times Luxury Business Summit in Monaco that one of his company’s clients produces about 2.1 tons of carbon dioxide a year, or the same amount as three cats — before a speaker corrected him. offstage. He meant three dogs.
Hansen said during a panel discussion on Tuesday that the industry was aware of the urgent need to reduce carbon emissions, but that the data needed to be “put into perspective.” He added that private flights “will not leave, because they save time” for the wealthy.
Hansen later said he was referring to data he had published in Mike Berners-Lee, a British academic, How Bad Bananas Are. It states that a cat kept as a household pet is responsible for 310kg of carbon emissions annually, while a dog causes around 700kg.
Berners-Lee said in an email that he was “surprised and disappointed to hear statements from my book being used to defend the bogus environmental claims made by Luxaviation.” He cast doubt on the 2.1-ton figure given by Hansen, saying it seemed “suspiciously low” and “a must have for very short flights and very small aircraft”.
The simple fact is that emissions from luxury private jets are many times higher than regular commercial flights. Nor is it reasonable to claim that climate damage can be reversed through so-called “compensation.” “Luxury private jets are huge carbon fun.”
Private jet companies have benefited from surging demand since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic in 2020, when the wealthy sought to avoid crowds and restrictions. Although all travel restrictions have been lifted, this trend is set to continue as high spenders seek more personalized and luxurious travel experiences, according to industry experts. Global demand for private jets is up more than 14 percent since before the pandemic, according to industry data.
Hansen said that “an influx of new customers into the private jet market” last year has compensated for the loss of customers from regions affected by air travel restrictions linked to Russia’s war in Ukraine.
Meanwhile, climate change activists and policymakers have called for measures to penalize private flights to help curb global warming. Last month, Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport sought to ban private jets from flying to and from the Dutch capital after climate activists stormed its runway. Activists at Geneva airport on Tuesday disrupted Europe’s leading business fair for private jets.
According to Oxfam’s 2022 report, the carbon footprint of private jets is at least ten times greater than that of commercial airlines. This means that one per cent of the world’s population is responsible for half of the aviation industry’s total emissions, according to the charity. This is backed up by a study by the Transport and Environment Organization, an EU NGO, which estimated that private jets emit 5 to 14 times more greenhouse gases per passenger than commercial flights.
Hansen said the industry “doesn’t want to be ashamed of our children” and is taking steps to offset and reduce its emissions.
Some industry experts have suggested that sustainable fuels such as biofuels made from vegetable oils and synthetic fuels, could replace traditional carbon-based fuels. Boeing CEO Dave Calhoun dismissed the use of biofuels in an interview, saying they would “never achieve the price of jet fuel.”
The availability of biofuels has been very limited worldwide, Hansen said, so the air travel industry cannot rely exclusively on low-pollution options.
“Of course, when we flew people to COP26 in Edinburgh, we made sure that those planes were filled exclusively with sustainable fuel,” he said.
According to Hansen, hydrogen and electric engines for aircraft will be a more sustainable alternative to combustion engines in the long term. However, in the near future, Luxaviation is advising customers not to travel on private jets for very short distances.
“Sometimes it’s better not to fly. We tell our clients, don’t fly from Paris to Lyon.”
On Tuesday, in a move to cut emissions, France banned short-haul domestic flights for which alternatives by train already exist, including routes such as Paris to Nantes, Bordeaux and Lyon.