Study: Climate impact of private jets across Europe

CO2 emissions from private jets in Europe increased by nearly a third (31%) between 2005 and 2019, rising faster than commercial aviation emissions, finds a new report from campaign group Transport & Environment (T&E).

The report, Private jets: can the super-rich supercharge zero emission aviation?, reveals the climate impact of private jets across Europe.

The study highlights the continued use of private jets last year despite the pandemic. By August 2020, while most Europeans were still grounded and commercial flights were down 60% year-on-year, private jet traffic had returned to pre-COVID levels. One operator reported an 11.3% increase in private flight sales in July 2020 alone.

The report also reveals:

Seven of the 10 most polluting routes taken by private aircraft within Europe lie on the UK-France-Switzerland-Italy axis.

Private jets departing the UK and France are the biggest source of pollution, representing over a third (36%) of private flight emissions in Europe between them.

1 in 10 flights departing France are private jets, half of which travelled less than 500km.

The report makes three recommendations to advance the decarbonisation of the sector and mitigate the disproportionate climate impact that private jet use has:

Hydrogen and electric: By 2030, regulators should only allow the use of green hydrogen or electric aircraft powered for private jet flights under 1,000km within Europe

Polluter pays: Until a ban in 2030, a combination of an effective price on carbon, jet fuel and flight taxes should be imposed on fossil-fuel private jets, scaled with flight distance and aircraft weight, to account for their disproportionate climate impact.

Alternative transport: Companies and individuals should commit to substantial reduction in private jet use. As new technologies emerge, flights should be prohibited when alternatives exist that do not increase travel time by more than 2hr30.

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