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Private jet spend leaps among executives despite emissions fears

Two new reports have revealed a huge rise in personal flight bookings and the use of private air travel among staff at some of the world’s biggest companies.

airplane during golden hour

According to The Wall Street Journal, Meta, the big tech giant that owns platforms including Facebook and Instagram, spent $6.6milliom on private jets for its former-Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg and Chief Executive Officer Mark Zukerberg in 2022 alone. 

An increase of 55% since 2019, it reflects a wider trend that shows executive air travel is growing. As Equinar has reported, among top executives at S&P 500 companies, personal flights leapt by 92% since 2015, while private jet bookings increased 35% in the same period. 

Meanwhile, the Institute for Policy Studies has shown that emissions from private jets have risen by 23% since the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic. This is particularly worrying considered these flights can produce up to 10 times the carbon and greenhouse gas output of commercial airliners. 

The results highlight a disconnect large organisations with heavy annual mileage and realities now facing policymakers. Scientists already consider private jets to be completely unaligned with climate targets, some countries have even faced calls to ban internal flights of all types below a certain number of hours to reduce aviation emissions, and the public is encouraged to monitor and reduce their footprint in this area of travel. 

Last year, Environment Journal published new research showing that the vast majority of employees want to see their organisation’s improve records on business travel. 71% said that more should be done from an environmental stance, and 76% agreed they would prioritise sustainable transport modes of there were a financial incentive involved.  

More on sustainable aviation:

Pipe dream come true: Can green hydrogen fuel the future?

Business as usual: How post-lockdown aviation is set to change

Project Speedbird to save 26,000 flights worth of CO2

Image:  Ramon Kagie

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