Jet charter marketplace Victor, with support from EBAA, has launched a five-step Build Back Better plan for the industry.
As part of the plan, Victor has become the first private jet company to have its annual flight, emissions and carbon credit purchase data formally audited and published and is calling for this level of transparency over environmental action to become a standard in business and general aviation.
Victor has a proven track record in climate action leadership. Since 2019, every flight has been 200 per cent carbon offset as standard at a minimum, with fuel burn data provided by RocketRoute, and carbon credits are brokered by Vertis Environmental Finance and South Pole.
Victor emitted more than 21,272 tonnes of carbon and offset more than 45,000 tonnes of carbon in 2020, protecting forest which covers an area four times the size of Manhattan, New York and 116 times the size of Monaco.
The platform, which experienced 139 per cent growth in new bookers for its on-demand jet charter service in the first two months of the year versus the same period last year, developed the Build Back Better framework for the entire industry. The framework is designed to mitigate the environmental impact of private jets in support of NetZero 2050.
The plan encompasses consumer awareness of carbon footprints, investment in reduction innovations and SAF, investing in high-quality carbon offsetting, going beyond net zero for every transaction and third-party verification and disclosure. It gives all private aviation businesses a simple framework by which they can demonstrate their commitment to building a more sustainable industry.
Step 1 is Awareness: investing in education and raising awareness with consumers, supply chain and future generations of the impact of their carbon footprint and how they can reduce or mitigate it.
Step 2 is Mitigation: every flight must be beyond carbon neutral. This can be achieved by offsetting more than the total emissions of that flight or by engaging a hybrid solution of offsetting and sustainable aviation fuel, where available.
Step 3 is Nature-based solutions: choose offsetting providers and projects that offer nature-based solutions and are Gold Standard or Voluntary Carbon Standard accredited.
Step 4 is third party verification: openly publish the carbon emissions of the company operations and flight performance, as well as the mitigation strategy. The emissions and associated carbon credit retirement should be audited by a third-party as the company itself cannot objectively mark its own efforts.
Step 5 is innovation and reduction: invest time and research into exploring new technologies that will deliver a proven reduction on the impact on global warming. Smart technology might include SAF viability, optimising flight routes or research into contrails to reduce the quantum of emissions.
EBAA COO Robert Baltus comments: “The EBAA supports Victor's Build Back Better framework and in particular welcomes its call for third party verification and full transparency on environmental investments made by private aviation businesses. Victor has been leading the way for greater environmental responsibility in business aviation since it launched its industry-first carbon reduction programme in Europe in 2018. Since Victor took this programme worldwide in 2019 and started mandating a 200 per cent carbon offset on every flight, we encourage others in business aviation to follow its lead. At EBAA, we are working hard to develop a path to a more sustainable future for business aviation. The next hill for business aviation to climb is the utilisation of 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.”
Victor founder and chairman Clive Jackson adds: “We all want to get out of our homes and celebrate life, our family and friendships as soon as we can get on top of this horrendous pandemic. With all but essential travel banned, the opening of national borders and air corridors will see the massive pent-up demand for international travel rise exponentially. Particularly as airlines struggle to reintroduce the breadth and diversity of routes they once operated.
“Chartering a private aircraft provides your family and friends with a safe way to get to anywhere in the world, at a time of your choosing, with minimum risk. Your ability to choose how you travel does, however, comes with the added responsibility to protect our society and the future of our planet. We cannot overlook the fact that a private jet emits up to 20 times more CO2 per passenger mile than a commercial airliner. Operators, brokers and customers must accept that the privilege they enjoy comes with certain obligations.”
Jackson is adamant that every private jet flight must be carbon negative by a significant order of magnitude. He will accept no excuses. He believes that “every passenger should remove more carbon than they emit, and this commitment and claim must be verifiable and open to scrutiny by others.” He adds: “Today we can offer a mix of sustainable synthetic fuel, smart tech and UN approved carbon sequestration programs as a range of verifiable mitigation options that go hand in hand with the freedom to choose how we wish to travel.”
COVID-19 travel restrictions led to a 56.9 per cent reduction in CO2 emissions from flights across Europe in 2020 compared with 2019, according to Eurocontrol. With the return of non-essential travel once more on the horizon, it is vital that the aviation industry takes 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 COVID-19, jet charter has seen large numbers of new users as flyers wish to avoid airport crowds and fly quickly and directly to their destination. According to analysis by McKinsey & Co, of respondents who said they used private aviation since the pandemic lockdowns began in March 2020, 71 per cent intend to continue flying privately once the pandemic is over.