Dallas, Texas-based aircraft management and charter brokerage Icarus Jet president Kevin Singh says the business aviation industry needs to step up. "I believe that the recent protest by climate activists at Schiphol airport in Amsterdam is in part due to our lack of commitment to highlighting what our industry brings to the table daily," he says. "The Greenpeace demonstration is essentially an outcome of our incapacity to drive the message in front of our different stakeholders from policymakers and passengers to activists.
"While the NBAA does an incredible job in the US to educate on the traits of the business through its No Plane No Gain programme, and the EBAA actively confronts misinformation in Europe, private aviation actors worldwide need to group together and start controlling the narrative that surrounds the global sustainability debate, whether that's the carbon footprint discussion, the use of SAFs or more investment in electric aircraft; by committing to a consistent narrative we will educate the public while reducing uncertainties.
"The global business aviation industry is responsible for only 0.04 per cent of global emissions, yet celebrities who opt for 10 minute private jet flights are creating the negative exposure that the industry does not need. Private aviation is not powered by these sporadic celebrity-fuelled flights, but rather business and leisure travellers who need to connect with remote locations and avoid the mounting commercial air inefficiencies and airport turmoil.
"Also, sometimes forgotten are the hundreds of daily medical and humanitarian flights operated worldwide, saving lives and delivering hope to many impacted families. In fact, EBAA reported that the Greenpeace protest in Amsterdam led to the diversion of a medical flight bound for Netherland's capital, as well as the grounding of an aircraft.
"At Icarus Jet we contribute with our grain of sand through SAF. Low-carbon synthetic jet fuels can be used safely in any turbine-powered aircraft and are key to achieving the industry's net zero in carbon emissions by 2050, led by the Business Aviation Coalition for Sustainable Aviation Fuel. While availability of SAF at FBOs around the top private jet hubs in the world continues to grow, additional supply at a competitive price is paramount for scaling its use and ultimately achieving sustainability goals.
"The extended use of SAFs in private aviation will require collaboration across governments and industries in order to overcome development challenges and bolster policies to encourage SAF use. Still, we believe that it's the most tangible solution to reducing carbon emissions today.
"Just like SAF for Icarus Jet, there are other variables in the climate discussion for private jet providers worldwide. The use of electric aircraft for charter flights is a reality that we are also considering and believe that will make a huge impact in how travellers move from the city to private terminals, with private jets having a role in longer-haul flights. But that's a topic for a separate discussion.
"The focus today for the business aviation industry should be to acknowledge that the misinformation and the lack of education is mostly our responsibility, and that it will require an industry-wide effort to confront it with facts. It is never too late to control the narrative, yet this commitment needs to be embedded in every company's core because it takes time, effort and knowledgeable professionals to lead a consistent message through various channels. If we don't control our narrative, others will continue doing it for us."