A clean transport campaign group has said CO2 emissions from private jets have increased by 31 per cent between 2005 and 2019 in Europe while the sector was scarcely impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic.
New research released by Transport & Environment (T&E) shows that the rise in business aviation emissions means they are now 10 times more carbon intensive than airliners on average and 50 times more polluting than trains.
The report entitled Private jets: can the super-rich supercharge zero emission aviation? adds that a four-hour private flight emits as many emissions as the average person does in a year.
It also shows the limited impact of Covid-19 on the sector as while European commercial flights were down by 60 per cent year on year in 2020, private jet travel had returned to pre-pandemic levels by August last year.
Meanwhile, one private jet operator reported an 11.3 per cent increase in flight sales in July 2020 alone.
The UK and France are also accused of being the worst offenders, with private jets departing the two countries representing 36 per cent of all European private flight emissions.
However, while the report is critical of the sector it adds it could be part of the solution by choosing to pay tax as the report claimed private jets are untaxed in most European nations because of exemptions from the EU’s carbon pricing scheme (EU ETS) and untaxed kerosene.
T&E says that should a jet fuel tax be applied proportionately to flight distances then it could raise as much as €325 million which then could be used to develop new technologies to decarbonise the aviation sector.
T&E aviation director Andrew Murphy said: “Flying on a private jet is probably the worst thing you can do for the environment. And yet, super-rich super polluters are flying around like there is no climate crisis.
“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.
“European policymakers need to urgently start taxing fossil-fuel powered private jets and ban their use by 2030.
“The revenues raised from the super-rich could be invested in greener technology that could clean up flying for everyone.”