Using public data to track flights by private aircraft owned by celebrities and businesspeople including Elon Musk, the Rolling Stones, the Murdoch family and Kylie Jenner over 21 months, the Guardian has found that Private jets belonging to 200 celebrities, CEOs, oligarchs and billionaires have spent a combined total of 11 years in the air since the start of 2022.
The approximately 27,793 flights in the dataset for the year 2022, responsible for an estimated 257,673 tonnes of CO2, represent only 0.5% of the estimated 5.3m private flights that year.
According to the report, the carbon footprint of all those flights – a jaw-dropping 44,739 journeys – would be the equivalent of the total emissions of almost 40,000 Britons.
The figures track the almost 300 jets belonging to those on the list and find that they emitted an estimated 415,518 tonnes of CO2. A significant minority of non-helicopter flights – around one in six – were for short-haul journeys of half an hour or less.
The findings follow a sharp rise in private jet use since the Covid-19 pandemic.
Recall that last year, private jet activity in Europe was at its highest level since a 2007 peak and forecasts indicate that sales of private jets are likely to reach their highest ever level this year.
According to the findings, about 40% of private flights carry no passengers, as planes are moved around to pick people up. Many jets may have also been used by friends, family or business associates or lent to other individuals.
The report showed that some celebrities, such as Taylor Swift, who was also included in the analysis, appear to have dramatically changed their behaviour after being called out for their excessive use of private jets. Swift’s jet was spotted in the air an average of 19 times a month between January and August 2022.
Since receiving negative publicity, its average flight frequency has dropped to just over two a month.
Reacting, a spokesperson for Swift said that Taylor bought more than double the carbon credits needed to offset all tour travel, before the tour kicked off in March of 2023.
None of the other celebrities and businesspeople mentioned in this piece wished to comment.
Source: The Guardian