The Rise of Private Jets
Whether you’re flying your own private jet or chartering one, jet-setting is the epitome of luxury travel. Long lines at airports, packed planes, and prolonged flights are the tales of yesterday when it comes to flying with private jets. From tech billionaire Mark Zuckerberg to the Sultan of Brunei and celebrity Leonardo DiCaprio, these high profile individuals jets around the globe regularly––and they come with a serious price tag.
While the commercial airline industry is (still) recovering from Covid-19, the private jet industry is navigating the global health crisis with aplomb. Trends show the demand will continue to grow given that private jets provide a safer way to travel with reduced exposure to pathogens, especially in the midst of a pandemic. According to Chief Marketing Officer of Wheels Up, Lee Applbaum, those who were considering flying in a private jet as luxury, are marking it as a necessary means of travel; an opportunity for them to reunite with family and friends, conduct critical business trips and more.
Despite the good economic performance, there are some concerns about how much private jet emissions can cost to the environment. A European campaign group, Transport & Environment (T&E) reported that CO2 emissions from the European private jet market have increased by 31% between 2005 and 2019, way more than commercial flights. In 2019, the 18-year-old Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg arrived in New York after sailing across the Atlantic on an emissions-free yacht a month ahead of her speech at the United Nations Climate Action Summit. A powerful message to the 45th President of the United States, Donald Trump, demanding action on climate change.
We have anchored off Coney Island – clearing customs and immigration. We will come ashore at North Cove Marina earliest 14:45 tide allowing. pic.twitter.com/t6yy5z2asp
— Greta Thunberg (@GretaThunberg) August 28, 2019
However, let’s not dismiss the fact that private jets are often on the front lines of bringing in supplies after natural disasters. According to Forbes, business aircraft make 15,000 per year for humanitarian reasons. For instance, there were 715 flights involved during the Haiti earthquake, in rescuing over 3,800 people and flying more than 1,400,000 pounds of critical supplies to relief groups on the island. Although private jets may not be the greenest option right now, it is on the right path to reduce carbon emissions.
What is causing the emissions?
The aviation industry as a whole is responsible for two percent of greenhouse gas emissions. Private jets alone emit as much as 20 times more carbon per passenger mile than commercial flights. For example, the most common type of jets in the industry, with a range of 1,900km or 2,700km that can carry eight passengers, are not able to do long-haul flights. As a result, more travel occurred due to lack of capacity.
Can private jets contribute to the industry’s decarbonisation solution?
The International Air Transport Association, the aviation industry’s fuel burn per passenger-kilometer, has dropped by half since 1990. Due to the current crisis, paying taxes, investing in new technologies, adopting more sustainable fuels, modernising fleets, improving operational efficiency and introducing lighter materials to reduce aircraft weight have become important factors in offsetting their footprint, including private jets.
If you’re considering purchasing a private jet, you’ll have to factor in maintenance, fuel and staff salary costs. But chartering is a much cheaper option and here are a few charter services that are leading towards a sustainable future.
For new entrants to private aviation, Gulfstream’s innovative G700 recently arrived in Doha in honouring Qatar Executive (QE), the business jet subsidiary of Qatar Airways, as the global launch customer. Costing about $13,000 per hour, the new state-of-the-art aircraft offers chartering services and is designed for ultra-long-haul flights, which can operate non-stop from Doha to New York, in about 12 hours and from Doha to Seoul in just over eight hours.
It promotes sustainable business aviation, allowing the airline to operate one of the cleanest and quietest business jets. Equipped with two Rolls-Royce Pearl 700 engines, the G700 can fly 7,500 nautical miles/13,890 kilometres at Mach 0.85 or 6,400 nautical miles/11,853 km at Mach 0.90. As a result, the aircraft is able to operate on sustainable aviation fuel. Also, the aircraft is designed with an award-winning Symmetry Flight Deck with active control side sticks and the most extensive use of touchscreen technology in the industry as well. The executive charter service provider has ordered 10 of the world’s largest business jets, and will take delivery of the very first aircraft off the Gulfstream assembly line in Georgia, United States in 2022.
Founded in 2004, VistaJet is the first and only global business aviation company, which revolutionised the industry by pioneering a new way to fly: customers have access to an entire fleet whilst paying only for the hours they need. Their fleets fly to 96% of globe and offer over 70 private jets available to customers––with guaranteed availability and no positioning costs for Program Members, anytime and anywhere. Matter of fact, 10 new super-midsize Challenger 350 has been ordered to be part of VistaJet as well.
The charter service provider commits to carbon neutrality by 2025––25 years ahead of industry goals. Through their carbon offset program, 80% of VistaJet’s Members compensate for their fuel carbon emissions, through South Pole, a climate change pioneer. VistaJet also provides worldwide access to Sustainable Aviation Fuels with SkyNRG––a solution that can reduce emission by up to 80%. Also, their investment in artificial intelligence and predictive algorithms helped to reduce fuel consumption by 8% to date. Replacing items on board with sustainable alternatives is part of their initiative as well.
While VistaJet is on a mission to offset its carbon footprint, they offer a luxurious cabin experience in the sky, including developing its custom Ultimate Sky Sleep program as a way to enhance customer’s sleep experience in the sky; a specially curated library of dozens of books selected by London-based bookstore Heywood Hill on its global aircraft, to name a few.
Another operator that is committed to sparking change is NetJets. Recently, they signed a partnership with WasteFuel, a landfill-waste-to-fuel-company, making it the first private aviation company to buy a stake in the production of sustainable aviation fuel. Launched in 2008, this endeavour is part of the company’s Blue Skies carbon offsetting program to encourage private jet owners to make their flight activity more sustainable. Recently, they announced their commitment to purchase 100 million gallons of sustainable aviation fuel over the next decade. On top of that, the company launched its Global Sustainability Program in October 2020, as part of their goal to offset corporate and consumer carbon emissions.
Besides the world class cabin experience, the NetJets’ membership programme offers customers the access to the largest fleet in private aviation and unpredicted travel experience where each travel has its own standards for safety and service. From light jets (up to seven passengers) to long-range jets (14 passengers), customers’ options are limitless when it comes to chartering with NetJets.