Number of private jet flights in Europe at record levels, as continent battles severe winter drought
New analysis commissioned by Greenpeace Central and Eastern Europe shows that the number of private jet flights in Europe has increased by a staggering 64 percent last year to 572,806 private jet flights. As Europe battles a severe winter heatwave and drought, private jet emissions have more than doubled last year, exceeding the annual per capita CO2 emissions of 550,000 EU residents. 55 percent of all private jet flights in Europe last year were short or ultra short flights below 750 km that could easily have been train and ferry trips. Greenpeace is calling for a ban on private jets and has just launched a global petition .
Klara Maria Schenk, transport campaigner for Greenpeace’s Mobility for All campaign, said: “The alarming growth of private jet flights is entirely at odds with all the climate science that tells us to bring down CO2 emissions immediately in order to avert total disaster. The new IPCC report shows more clearly than ever that we have to cut the excessive consumption of fossil fuels urgently. Over 60 percent of the oil used globally is for transport. Reducing oil-powered transport immediately is a no-brainer, starting with a ban on energy-wasting ultra-polluting private jets that provide no value for people, yet burden them with harmful emissions, toxic microparticles and noise, harming our climate, environment and health.”
The research, conducted by Dutch environmental consultancy CE Delft, found that the countries with the most private jet flights in Europe in 2022 were the UK, France, and Germany.  The three most popular destinations for private jets in Europe were Nice (Côte d’Azur), Paris, and Geneva, and the three top popular routes Paris-London, Nice-London, Paris-Geneva, two of which even have alternative direct train connections of under 3.5 hours and multiple services per day.
Private jets and luxury emissions are not currently regulated as such in the EU and excluded from key EU legislation that is supposed to tackle greenhouse gas emissions, even so they are the most polluting, most energy-wasting and inequitable form of transport per passenger and kilometre. Private jets cause between 5 to 14 times more CO2 emissions than an average commercial plane (per passenger), and 50 times more than trains. In 2018, 50% of all aviation emissions were caused by only 1% of the world’s population. Meanwhile, 80% of people in the world have never even flown and carry the weight of the climate crisis, battling through more frequent and dangerous extreme heat, flooding and drought caused by the damaging consequences of private jet and aviation emissions. “Millions of people around the world are facing climate chaos and have to make cuts due to rising costs, while a tiny minority are burning jet fuel like there’s no tomorrow simply for their own personal pleasure and profit. Private jets are an outrageously unfair weight on society and need to be banned if governments are serious about cutting CO2 emissions and getting a fair transport system in place”, Klara Maria Schenk said.
 The basis of the analysis by CE Delft is data provided by aviation analytics company Cirium. The research looks at all private flights departing from and arriving in European countries during the timeframe of three years (2020 – 2022). Flights are disaggregated by year, route and aircraft type. Certain small aircraft types with less than three seats have been excluded from the data, as they are mainly used for leisure rather than for business or private flights. Additionally flights to and from airports without an IATA code, and flights that arrive at the same airport as they have departed from, were excluded. The CO2 emissions of all flights were calculated using the Eurocontrol Small Emitters Tool.
The research commissioned by Greenpeace confirms a general upward trend in the use of private jets: following a decline in overall air traffic in 2020 and a rapid surge in first-time private jet users in 2021 as they tried to escape the lockdowns, the market already settled at a growth level of around 6% in 2021 compared to the pre-crisis period in 2019. Industry insiders state that private jet rentals now account for about 17% of European flights, up from 7% in 2019.
 Greenpeace’s global petition to ban private jets: http://www.greenpeace.org/ban-private-jets
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Senior Communications Lead & Deputy Campaign Lead EU Mobility for All Campaign