How Private Jets and Business Class Hurt the Environment

With the climate conversation becoming ever more heated, the Economist looks at the impact of flying in business class and the use of private jets:

First, private jets are horribly polluting. Second, they are often—and outrageously—subsidised. … new booking services and shared-ownership schemes are cutting the cost of going private and luring busy executives away from first- and business-class seats on scheduled flights.

In some countries the use of a private jet is a tax-free perk for executives. But a growing volume of research suggests that flying the boss privately is often a waste of money for shareholders.

The jets are often used to fly to places where corporate titans are more likely to have holiday homes than business meetings, such as fancy ski resorts. … Users of such planes are also more likely to commit fraud: a careless attitude to other people’s money sometimes shades into outright criminality, it seems.

The environmental effects of corporate jets are dire. A flight from London to Paris on a half-full jet produces ten times as much in carbon emissions per passenger as a scheduled flight.

Business class is worse than economy class, because it burns more jet fuel per passenger. Private jets are more damaging by an order of magnitude.

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