Watch: “We need to ban business jets”


The Green Party, Possible and Safe Landing were invited to Corporate Jet Investor London 2024 to explain why they believe that business jets should be banned. They did not hold back.

“This is an industry that creates absolutely gigantic amounts of emissions per person and it delivers essentially zero public benefit,” said Alethea Warrington, senior campaigner at environment charity Possible. “It is simply not viable for a small group of ultra-wealthy people to keep flying around on almost empty private jets, producing a huge amount of emissions, particularly given that these flights are virtually tax-free.”

All three of the speakers said that they were opposed to the inequality of business aviation as well as the environmental effects. “Ultimately, when mayors all across the world and politicians are asking people to change their habits,” said Zack Polanski, deputy leader of the Green Party of England and Wales. “How possibly can elected politicians do this when at the same time people are flying and soaring through the skies in private jets literally mocking those in poverty beneath them?”

“There’s no environmental justice without social, racial, economic justice too”

Polanski was asked if the inequality is more important than the environmental impact. There’s no environmental justice without social, racial, economic justice too. All these things are inextricably linked. The environmental reason is clearly a top high priority because we’re talking about ecological collapse. Fundamentally, private jets are the pinnacle of climate justice because this is where super-rich get to do something that is disproportionately polluting, disproportionately noisy,” he said. “The problem is for the climate, but actually it’s inequality, too, because those are two sides of a cent coin.”

Todd Smith, a former airline pilot and founder of Safe Landing, stressed his love of flying but said it is no longer able to work in aviation. “I believe corporate jets have played a pivotal role in connecting our world in a way which was previously unimaginable. That said, I had a realisation that the climate is breaking down rapidly, and ultimately, my conscience will no longer allow me to be a part of the aviation sector.”

Kurt Edwards, director general, International Business Aviation Council, said that there is still much misunderstanding about business aviation. “When I’m traveling visiting my associations around the world, I can see they are keen to grow the industry because they don’t have the connectivity that a lot of places do, and they need it for their own businesses,” he said. “They need it for their livelihood. Think of the medevac, think of humanitarian lift that comes with these aircraft as well. It’s an exciting time for the business and we see a lot of young folks coming in because of the commitment we have made in terms of the environmental sustainability going forward. The business aviation community along with the rest of the global aviation community has committed to net zero carbon emissions by 2050.”

Safe Landing’s Smith could not believe he was invited to speak after protesting at London Farnborough Airport with Swedish activist Greta Thunberg the week before.