NEW ANALYSIS commissioned by Greenpeace reveals the UK to be the top destination for private jet flights in Europe. It showed that a private jet took off from this country every six minutes last year, and that the UK can claim the busiest route, the most polluting route and the most flights overall.

The analysis showed that the number of private jets taking off from the UK increased by a staggering 75 per cent in 2022 to 90,256 flights that emitted half a million tonnes of CO2 – more than in any other European country.

The findings follw the the government’s recent announcment of a package of measures aimed at meeting its net zero commitments and competing with recent US and EU incentives for green investment.

The analysis also found that within Europe, the UK has:

  • Most private flights: At 90,256, a private jet took off from the UK every six minutes.
  • Most emissions: Private jets in the UK caused half a million tonnes of CO2 in 2022 – the highest in Europe.
  • Busiest route: Flights between London and Paris were the most popular route accounting for 3,357 flights. Six of the top 10 routes also included London.
  • Most polluting route: The journey of less than five miles between Farnborough and Blackbushe in Hampshire is the most carbon-intensive route.

The research conducted by Dutch environmental consultancy CE Delft,using  found that private jet traffic across Europe has soared from 350,000 flights in 2021 to over 570,000 in 2022. The associated CO2 emissions more than doubled over the same period to over 3.3 million tonnes.

CE Delft used data provided by aviation analytics company Cirium and looked at all private flights departing from and arriving in European countries between 2020 and 2022. The CO2 emissions of all flights were calculated using the Eurocontrol Small Emitters Tool.

Almost one-in-four (39 per cent) of all private jet flights in Europe were considered “very short-haul” meaning that they were less than 500 kilometres and could easily have been train trips. As the most polluting mode of transportation on the planet per passenger kilometre, Greenpeace is calling for a ban on private jet travel.

The analysis also considered the ‘carbon intensity’ of different routes, measured as CO2 output divided by distance, to work out the least efficient routes. In both 2021 and 2022, the 7.4 kilometre (4.6 mile) flight between Blackbushe and Farnborough topped the rankings as Europe’s most carbon intensive route. It takes less than 30 minutes to cycle between the two airports.

Doug Parr, Policy Director at Greenpeace UK, said: “Private jets are staggeringly polluting and generally pointless. Many of these journeys can be covered almost as quickly by train, and some of them by bicycle. Millions of people around the world are facing climate chaos, losing livelihoods or worse, while a tiny minority are burning jet fuel like there’s no tomorrow. If the government is serious about net zero and a fair transition to low-carbon transport then private jets should be first on the chopping block.”

Klara Maria Schenk, Transport Campaigner for Greenpeace’s Mobility for All campaign, said: “The alarming growth of private jet flights is entirely at odds with all the climate science that tells us to bring down CO2 emissions immediately in order to avert total disaster. The new IPCC report shows more clearly than ever that we have to cut the excessive consumption of fossil fuels urgently. Over 60 per cent of the oil used globally is for transport. Reducing oil-powered transport immediately is a no-brainer, starting with a ban on ultra-polluting private jets.”

* Read the analysis here.

* Source: Greenpeace