Private-Jet Emissions Found to Rise More Than Commercial Planes

Greenhouse-gas emissions from private jets are rising faster than those from commercial jetliners, according to a new report, a trend exacerbated by the ability of the well-heeled to fly during Covid-19 travel restrictions.

Findings by Brussels-based campaign group Transport & Environment show European personal-plane emissions rose 31% between 2005 and 2019, faster than the 25% increase for commercial aviation. While private jets account for about 2% of overall aviation emissions, they’ve recovered faster during the pandemic as wealthy travellers continue to fly.

“While most Europeans were still grounded, by August of 2020, the peak time of year for private jet travel, the sector had fully recovered,” the report’s authors wrote.

Scrutiny of aviation’s environmental impact is intensifying as European governments set out how they plan to curb pollution in line with international agreements. Aviation accounts for about 2% of overall man-made carbon-dioxide emissions that contribute to global warming, according to industry group ATAG.

While the U.S. is by far the biggest private-jet market, the relatively high number of billionaires in the U.K. and France mean those countries dominate the European scene. Personal or corporate planes from the two nations pumped out more carbon dioxide than 20 other countries on the continent combined, Transport & Environment researchers found.

One tenth of all flights departing from France in 2019 were with private jets, half of which traveled less than 500 kilometres (311 miles).

©2021 Bloomberg L.P.

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