Climate-heating emissions from private jet flights have soared in Europe since 2005, according to a report. It calls for wealthy fliers to pay ticket taxes of EUR325m a year to fund the acceleration of zero-carbon aviation technology.
Carbon emissions from private flights rose by 31% from 2005-19, the report says, and private aviation had rebounded to pre-pandemic levels by August 2020, when 60% of public flights were grounded.
Travelling by private jet is the most polluting activity an individual can undertake, the report says, with four hours of flying equivalent to the total annual emissions of the average European citizen.
It also found that almost half of private jet flights within Europe were short – less than 500km – compared with the quarter of commercial flights that travel under this distance.
The T&E report argues that with the average private jet owner being a billionaire and flights being little taxed at present, these travellers can afford to pay to fund the development of electric or hydrogen-powered aircraft and low-carbon aviation fuels. The first zero-emission aircraft will carry only a small number of passengers over short distances, perfect for the world of private jets, the report adds.
Andrew Murphy, an aviation director at T&E, said: “Super-rich super-polluters are flying around like there’s no climate crisis. The sector falls outside of the regulatory reach of many governments, despite the enormous climate impact that these flights have, and despite the growth of their usage.
“But the upside is that the private jet market is ideally suited to help bring about aviation’s Tesla moment, making hydrogen and electric planes a reality.”