European Business aviation response to UK Labour proposal to ban private jets

4 November 2019 (Brussels). The following response can be attributed to the European Business Aviation Association following the publication by The Guardian of a proposal to ban private jets from UK airports to encourage the development of electric alternatives.

“As a sector, we know that passengers are increasingly demanding to be transported sustainably. Outright banning private jets in the UK as suggested, however, would do little to curb climate change (business aviation is but 2% of 2% of aviation’s contribution to global emissions). Furthermore air traffic is an international business, meaning unilateral, isolated solutions make little sense. We’re therefore proposing a more achievable and holistic approach.

“Business aviation serves a legitimate, and important, societal purpose: we connect communities, enable secure travel, improve business productivity and opportunities, and link markets in an increasingly globalised world when time matters most and no alternative is available. In short, we fly where others don’t, or cannot, and this drives the demand for our service. Nonetheless these benefits come with an environmental cost, and business aviation must balance them with a responsibility to mitigate climate change.

What we are doing to mitigate our environmental impact

“For decades our sector has taken its environmental responsibilities very seriously. We have improved our carbon footprint by 40% over the past 40 years and will continue to do so through massive investments in R&D.

“Celebrating its 10-year anniversary this year, the Business Aviation Commitment on Climate Change lays out the goals our industry has set toward securing a carbon-neutral future.

  • A 50% reduction in emissions by 2050 relative to 2005;
  • A 2% improvement in fuel efficiency per year from 2010 until 2020 – for which we are well on target;
  • Carbon-neutral growth by 2020.

“These efforts will be complemented by the first global climate mitigation scheme of its kind, known as the ICAO’s Carbon Offsetting and Reduction Scheme for International Aviation, or CORSIA, starting in 2021.

“Beyond this, we continually look for ways to enhance our industry’s contribution towards achieving the UN Sustainable Development Goals. Recently, our sector committed to working with a newly formed project team of business aviation young professionals to introduce industry-wide standards and an accompanying sustainability label called STARS.

Concrete actions to support European operators’ sustainability efforts are needed instead;

“Beyond this, real opportunities to significantly reduce the environmental impact of aviation in Europe exist, which have yet to be acted on despite being on the transport agenda for years. Governments must therefore focus on concrete actions that support European operators and their sustainability efforts. These include;

  1. The long-awaited delivery of the Single European Sky, which could save an estimated 10% of CO2 emissions, today, if implemented.
  2. The creation and implementation of policies that support the production and delivery of Sustainable Aviation Fuels. Accelerating the use of SAF is key to reducing our industry’s carbon footprint and meeting our environmental goals.
  3. Research and innovation programs that support the improvement of engines, battery development – to speed the progress of electrification, and aircraft fuel-efficiency.

“The European business aviation sector is keen to be part of a sensible solution that balances the demand for travel, regional cohesion and economic growth with environmental and social responsibility. We will therefore continue to work closely with regulators and policy-makers in the UK, Europe and across the globe to prioritise the development of smart, inclusive and sustainable aviation policies for the benefit of all Europeans and our planet.”