by WorldTribune Staff, January 25, 2019
About 1,500 private jets will have flown a lot a very wealthy and influential people to Davos, Switzerland this week to engage in discussions at the World Economic Forum to discuss such topics such as “Safeguarding Our Planet”.
As a result, the Forum finds itself on the defensive over the enormous carbon footprint made by the arrival of its elite participants who do not fly commercial.
“We have had bookings from as far as our operations in Hong Kong, India and the U.S.,” Andy Christie, private jets director at ACS, said in a statement. “No other event has the same global appeal.”
The carbon impact for a gathering that touts its green credentials cannot be ignored.
Christie noted that “There appears to be a trend towards larger aircraft, with expensive heavy jets the aircraft of choice. This is at least in part due to some of the long distances traveled, but also possibly due to business rivals not wanting to be seen to be outdone by one another.”
According to private jet service PrivateFly.com, double the average daily volume of flight traffic to the area occurs during the World Economic Forum.
“The primary airport used by private jet customers flying to Davos is Zurich Airport. This is 91 miles away, or 1 hour 45 minutes by road. So some visitors will also charter a helicopter for a faster transfer time,” PrivateFly said.
In its own blog post, the World Economic Forum noted that “From an environmental perspective, taking a private jet is the worst way to travel to Davos.”
The forum also claimed that one of the airports examined by ACS was not affiliated with the forum, and another was a military base used only for “public figures” such as heads of state, and that its flight operations were classified.
On its own calculation using “real numbers” covering the two remaining airports, Zurich and St. Gallen, the World Economic Forum estimated there would be 14 percent fewer private jet flights this year compared to 2018.
The WEF calculated private jet flights in and out of the airports over the course of three days around the forum, while the ACS study looked at six days.
But the ACS study was “based on very unclear methodology and forward-looking statements”, it said, attacking “a PR release from a commercial operator.”
ACS said the military base in question did have unclassified flight movements which factored into its study.
“There is no available data which would lead us to predict a decline in aircraft movements, however, like with any prediction, we could be wrong,” the company said.
Whichever way the numbers are crunched, the elites coming to and gong from Davos are still laying down gigantic carbon footprints.
AFP noted that “plenty of CEOs still use helicopters to fly on to Davos in the Alps, and then limousines to ferry them around the crowded town, despite WEF appeals for participants to walk or take shuttle buses.”
Swedish campaigner Greta Thunberg told AFP, after spending 32 hours on trains to reach Davos: “I think it is insane that people are gathered here to talk about the climate and they arrive here in a private jet.”