Strikes and pilot shortages forced airlines to cancel thousands of flights at major European airports. The chaos of flight disruptions boosted private jet use among the wealthiest this summer, who jumped on a Gulfstream G550, Cessna Citation X, and or Bombardier Challenger 350 to avoid any hiccup of arriving late to their destination.
Bloomberg reported private jet use soared by almost a third in recent months compared to pre-pandemic levels. Airport capacity from Ibiza to Mykonos was stretched thin as European politicians proposed regulating or even banning private jet flights after a summer of record-breaking heat.
Ironically, despite all the chatter about climate change, London logged the most private jet flights in July (12,000). Naples, Amsterdam, and Berlin saw the most significant increases in private jet traffic in July versus pre-pandemic levels.
"The level of convenience is just incomparable when you're relying on scheduled airlines that have not put their game back together," said Richard Koe, managing director at aviation consultancy WingX. What's inconvenient is British Airways Plc, Deutsche Lufthansa AG, and other major carriers are canceling thousands of domestic flights amid pilot and crew shortages, leaving some passengers unable to reach their destination.
Koe said the current tightness in the private-jet market comes as the number of people flying private has increased by as much as 40%. He added demand could rise even more if airlines cut flights through winter.
Meanwhile, France is exploring ways to rein in soaring private-jet flights with possible new regulations to tax the use of the high-emitting planes.
Clement Beaune, France's transport minister, said President Emmanuel Macron had approved a plan to examine measures to curb private-jet use amid a growing backlash over elites.
"Behaviors will need to change, and they are changing already," Beaune told French television station France 2. "At the national level as well as at the European level, we can think about systems either of taxation or of regulation."
"Overall in Europe, private traffic rose almost 30% from pre-pandemic levels to nearly 179,000 flights," Bloomberg said.
The most popular traveled routes were London to Palma De Mallorca, London to Ibiza, Paris to Nice, and London to Paris.
Even though Europeans virtue signal the hardest in the world against climate change, they still allow elites to travel on private jets while everyday people have to reduce their carbon footprint.