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Meet the ‘get set’, the normal people using private jets to travel during the pandemic

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According to the findings, a four-hour private flight emits as much as the average person does in a year. While the amount of fuel burnt is a lot lower than a commercial jet, there are fewer people on board. Some estimates say private jets produce 10 times the amount of carbon per passenger.

Andrew Murphy, aviation director of T&E, said: “Flying on a private jet is probably the worst thing you can do for the environment.” The group wants fossil fuel-burning private jets to be replaced by hydrogen and electric planes by 2030. Some private jet companies are trying to address the issue. SHY Aviation, for example, offsets 100 per cent of its flights through a United Nations certified scheme.

The scheme involves calculating the carbon footprint of flights and paying per tonnage to a carbon emission brokerage, which then facilitates distributing those funds out to environmental projects. Critics of offsetting, such as Greenpeace, say the system does not reduce carbon emissions entering the atmosphere and allows companies to continue unsustainable behaviour. 

If private jet travel is a little rich for your blood, there are more affordable ways to minimise exposure in airports.
Private terminal operator Signature provides a service called Elite Class at Luton for easyJet flights and for all flights at Gatwick. At a cost of £970 for two people travelling from Gatwick and £450 for two from Luton, passengers travelling by commercial airlines can enjoy all the benefits of a private terminal and avoid the masses. The service allows clients access to a private VIP lounge with dedicated security, baggage check-in and customs and immigration and car transfers to and from the lounge to the aircraft.

Guests can relax in a private suite with a glass of champagne and light refreshments prior to boarding. Safety, hygiene and flexibility with as few touchpoints as possible are paramount considerations. Without queues clients can arrive 90 minutes before departure or less for short-haul flights. 

June Sebley, head of customer relations at Signature Elite Class explains: “Everything is done in the private terminal … People are cautious but they want to travel and this gives another option for those who are not quite in the private jet league. We have a 50-point checklist to make sure everything is sanitised and safe. Demand is growing and we expect it to continue growing as more countries move on to the green list.”

The verdict

The family 

Miles Gilbert, 33, from Southport, works in his family’s care home business and hired a jet with his family last February to ski in France. “In the party there were four adults and four young children with lots of luggage. Covid was beginning to spread so we decided that private charter was the safest way to go” he explains. “None of us contracted the virus, which so many did during the February half term.” 

The trip cost the party around £14,000 return, and since then the family have also flown to the Balearics on a chartered Pilatus PC-12 single-engine turboprop, ‘which was great value for money’ says Miles.

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