Tim Barber from Duncan Aviation – Reports
The vilification of private jets misses the point that business aviation offers much to society. In the past few months I’ve noticed an increase in the number of one-sided reports and stories regarding business aviation that seem to have the objective of painting private jets as evil mass polluters.
These reports neglect to address the benefits of business aviation and fail to recognise that it is an essential industry that contributes to the viability of mid-sized companies and large corporations alike.
In April, Amsterdam’s Schiphol airport even announced plans to ban private jet flights within certain time periods, which a Dutch court quickly ruled against. The Dutch court’s decision is to be welcomed, but it has occurred to me that if a particular country were to ban private jets or business aviation, then it may in fact serve as a good illustration of their value.
A country that banned business aviation would see its inward investment reduced, jobs migrate overseas, unemployment rise and GDP fall. That may wake governments up to the reality of the situation. According to a report by the National Business Aviation Association (NBAA), the industry supports more than a million jobs (374,000 in Europe), generates nearly $250 billion in economic activity worldwide, provides flights for humanitarian causes, and connects towns and communities without commercial airline support.
My business, Duncan Aviation, alone employs 2,600 team members and generates millions of dollars per year in our local communities.
Would an end to private jets really have much environmental impact?
Let’s address the main talking point: the environmental argument. Aviation as a whole accounts for 2 per cent of global C02 emissions, and business aviation accounts for 2 per cent of that. Simply put, business aviation contributes 0.04 per cent of global emissions. Let’s say the use of private jets came to an end. Would it really make that much of an impact to the environment? Let’s take it a step further. What would the world look like without business aviation?
When thinking about business aviation, critics often fail to consider that the aircraft in question are also used for medevac flights that transport patients from one location to another where they can receive the care they need. Or the air ambulance flights that move accident victims from rural areas to hospitals in order to quickly receive life-saving treatment.
There are also a number of organisations that coordinate the use of business aircraft for humanitarian purposes. According to the European Business Aviation Association (EBAA), business aviation operates 70 life-saving or medical flights per day on average.
Business aviation is so successful because it’s the best way for busy professionals to buy time. The aircraft can be accommodated by many more airports than the ones that commercial aircraft can reach.
It also connects 1,400 European airports – 900 of which are solely linked by business aviation. So, users fly from airports that are closer to home, to airports that are closer to their final destination. In doing so, they gain time and are therefore able to be more productive, undertake more meetings, and generate more growth for their companies. This directly leads to more income, more jobs and more taxes paid.
Companies save thousands of dollars by allowing employees to make a trip that involves stops at several airports and locations, returning home the same day. Most of the time, the passengers that fly on these trips are technicians, mid-level managers, and customers, not C-suite executives and owners.
The net-zero C02 emissions pledge
Innovation is ingrained in most companies that use business aircraft, and it is certainly a staple within the companies that serve the industry. The business aviation community is mindful of the need to mitigate its impact on the environment, which is why business aviation leaders pledged to achieve net-zero C02 emissions by 2050. They have adapted innovative, cutting-edge technologies such as winglets, glass cockpits, more aerodynamic structures, and lighter materials that all contribute to a greater fuel efficiency.
It’s also worth noting business aviation drives advancement in technology and operational efficiencies that benefit the aviation industry as a whole. Increasing the availability of sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) is also a top priority for civil aviation worldwide.
There is much, much more to business aviation than you might think from a cursory glance at the one-sided press reports doing the rounds at the moment.
Private jets are not, in fact, the preserver of a select group of individuals destroying the environment for their fleeting pleasure, and putting an end to them would not have the desired outcome. Business aviation allows for safe, efficient and discreet travel for high-profile individuals, access to communities with little or no airline service, increase in employee productivity, life-saving medevac flights, and humanitarian flights.
It is important to understand the true definition of business aviation and the benefits it offers before disparaging the entire industry.