Private jet marketplace Victor is urging other companies in the sector to move towards a more sustainable operating model as non-essential travel in many parts of the world readies to take off again.
Victor said it has already strived to become “the world’s first carbon negative aviation company” and is now calling for others to do the same, supported in the mission by the European Business Aviation Association (EBAA).
The firm is calling for greater transparency over environmental action among players in the private and general aviation sectors, adding that while Covid-19 travel restrictions may have led to a near 57% reduction in CO2 emissions from flights across Europe compared with 2019, according to Eurocontrol, a resumption in travel will soon see that spike again.
Victor founder Clive Jackson is now calling on others to adopt a five-step “Build Back Better” plan, adding that it is the only private jet company to have its own annual flight, emissions and carbon credit purchase data formally audited and published.
Jackson said it was vital the aviation industry take a more “sustainable approach to business and leisure travel”, particularly in private aviation, which has seen an unprecedented increase in new users due to the pandemic.
Since the onset of Covid-19, jet charter has seen large numbers of new users come into the market as flyers try and avoid airport crowds and fly quickly and directly. A survey by McKinsey & Co found 71% of those who had used private aviation since the pandemic lockdowns began in March 2020 intend to continue flying privately once the pandemic eases.
“The opening of national borders and air corridors will see the massive pent-up demand for international travel rise exponentially,” said Jackson. “Particularly as airlines struggle to re-introduce the breadth and diversity of routes they once operated. The ability to choose how you travel comes with the added responsibility to protect our society and the future of our planet.”
Victor itself experienced a 139% year-on-year growth in new bookers for its on-demand jet charter service in the first two months of 2021 alone.
“We cannot overlook the fact that a private jet emits up to 20 times more CO2 per passenger mile than a commercial airliner,” added Jackson. “Operators, brokers, and customers must accept that the privilege they enjoy comes with certain obligations. I am adamant that every private jet flight must be carbon negative by a significant order of magnitude. Every passenger should remove more carbon than they emit, and this commitment and claim must be verifiable and open to scrutiny by others.”
Victor said its own credentials show how every flight since 2019 has been 200% carbon offset at a minimum, with fuel burn data provided by RocketRoute and carbon credits brokered by Vertis Environmental Finance and South Pole.
“Today we can offer a mix of sustainable synthetic fuel, smart tech and UN-approved carbon sequestration programmes as a range of verifiable mitigation options that go hand in hand with the freedom to choose how we wish to travel,” said Jackson.
The Build Back Better plan encompasses five key areas – investing in consumer awareness of carbon footprints; investment in reduction innovations and sustainable aviation fuel with the aim of every flight being beyond carbon neutral; investing in high-quality accredited carbon offsetting around nature-based solutions; going beyond net zero for every transaction; and third-party verification and disclosure.
Victor said its strategy gives all private aviation businesses “a simple framework by which they can demonstrate their commitment to building a more sustainable industry”.
“The EBAA supports Victor’s Build Back Better framework and in particular welcomes their call for third party verification and full transparency on environmental investments made by private aviation businesses,” said Robert Baltus, chief operating officer at EBAA.
“Since Victor took its carbon reduction programme worldwide in 2019 and started mandating a 200% carbon offset on every flight, we encourage others in business aviation to follow their lead. The next hill for business aviation to climb is the utilisation of sustainable aviation fuel [SAF] on a greater scale. We look forward to working alongside Victor and other EBAA members to develop a SAF roadmap and engage the industry to adopt it,” added Baltus.