Some would call it ironic, others hypocritical but whatever your level of cynicism, here are the facts: as its top global risks for 2018 and 2019 in terms of likelihood, this year's billionaire boondoggle at the World Economic Forum in Davos listed "extreme weather conditions", i.e. global warming...
... and yet, according to Air Charter Service, no less than 1,500 private jet flights will land in Davos over the five days of its duration: a 50% increase in both private jets and toxic environmental emissions compared to last year, when roughly 1,000 private jets descended upon Davos.
Here are some more details about how these titans of industry with hearts oh so bleeding for the environment and the carbon content of earth's atmosphere - as long as their own carbon footprint is ignored of course - travel.
As Andy Christie, Private Jets Director at Air Charter Services says, "the global interest in the event led us to analyse the private jet activity over the past five years of WEF. Davos doesn’t have its own airfield and, whilst we have several clients who fly into the town by helicopter, the four main airfields that private jet users attending the forum use are Zürich, Dübendorf, St. Gallen-Altenrhein and St. Moritz.
According to WingX figures the average number of aircraft movements – arrivals and departures – for those four airports over the rest of January will be over 70 per day. "Working with WingX, we looked at private jet activity at those airports over the six days of each WEF week since 2013 – from one day before the event to one day after" Christie said. "Last year was the busiest year for private jets so far, showing an 11% increase on 2017, with more than 1,300 aircraft movements. If we see a similar increase this year, we could be looking at almost 1,500 aircraft movements over the six days."
“The week of the forum is unlike any other busy private jet event, such as the Super Bowl or Champions’ League final – it’s unique for the industry in that we receive bookings from a number of our offices around the world, rather than just the one or two offices in the region where the event is being held. We have had bookings from as far as our operations in Hong Kong, India and the US – no other event has the same global appeal.
Now that we know they'll be coming, this is what they'll be arriving in: expensive heavy jets proved to be the most popular aircraft type last year, with Gulfstream GVs and Global Expresses both being used more than 100 times each. Christie adds: "With the length of some of the journeys, these slightly larger aircraft would have been needed, but with such wealthy individuals attending, they can afford to use such aircraft from wherever they were coming – as well as the element of larger aircraft being seen as a status symbol."
Indeed they can, which is why all those fawning journalists present at Davos and attending any of the numerous "save the planet" panels, remember: whatever you do, don't ask how these glorious crusaders for the environment arrived in Davos.
Finally, here are slink to the personal jets of some of the world's richest and most powerful.
- Vladimir Putin’s IL-96-300PU
- Donald Trump’s Air Force One
- Xi Jinping and Air China's Boeing 747-400
- Angela Merkel and Konrad Adenauer
- François Hollande's Airbus A330-200
- Elizabeth II and No. 32nd Squadron
- Theresa May and her Airbus A330
- Hassanal Bolkiah's Airbus A340
- Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani and his $1 500 000 000 fleet
- Nursultan Nazarbayev’s 99,000 kilometres and his $250 000 000 aircraft
- Algeria’s $163 million presidential fleet
- Main findings for the VIPs and their Air Transportation
- King of Bahrain Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa and his VIP Boeing 767-400FSER
- Alisher Usmanov and the biggest business-jet
- Roman Abramovich and his $300 000 000 “Bandit”
- Kim Jong-un and his Chammae-1
- President Moon Jae-in’s fleet
- Bashar al-Assad and his Falcon 900
- Benjamin Netanyahu's “Israeli Air Force One”
- Pope Francis and his chartered Airbus A330-200
- King Abdullah II ibn Hussein of Jordan’s $50 million Airbus A318-112 Elite
- Yemeni president Abdrabbuh Mansur Hadi's $75 million Boeing 757-200
- Italian President Sergio Mattarella's leased Airbus A340-500 and personal aircraft worth $609 million