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Is Flying Private More Eco-Friendly than Flying Commercial?

As the world becomes more environmentally conscious, sustainable and green travel is now a hot topic in the transportation sector. In particular, there’s a debate over private vs commercial flying, and which is actually more eco-friendly. Let’s cut through all the talk to find the facts about private jet travel and the environment.

Private vs Commercial Flying: Which Is More Eco-Friendly?

The environmental conversations around private vs commercial flying tend to focus on inefficiencies. Specifically, green travel critics point to studies that claim private jet travel produces around 10 times more carbon per passenger than commercial travel.

On the surface, this critique seems logical since commercial aircraft can usually hold much more people than a private jet. However, private aviation doesn’t always produce more carbon per passenger. In a recent piece for Forbes, aviation scribe Doug Golan illustrated an interesting private vs commercial example.

“Last year Berlin attracted 13.5 million visitors with an average spend of $227 per person, perhaps less than you assumed. In other words, a full Boeing 737-800 carrying 150 passengers brings and leaves behind $34,050.

If the flights to and from the German capital were about three hours each way, the commercial airliner would have emitted about 149 tonnes of CO2… At the same time, a Cessna Citation XLS, a midsize private jet that seats seven or eight people, making the same roundtrip would have emitted 12.52 tonnes of CO2.

With a spend of $85,000, it would mean those often ridiculed private fliers would have brought 250% more revenue to the local economy while emitting less than one-tenth the CO2 of a full passenger jet.”

In this private vs. commercial case, a private jet is actually more efficient than a commercial aircraft.

AVIATION and Carbon Emissions

Overall, aviation doesn’t emit as much carbon as you may think. According to Air Transport Action Group (ATAG), the global aviation industry produces just 2% of human-induced CO2 emissions.

But what about private jets? Well, a green travel report by VistaJet shows that private aviation makes up only 2% of the global aviation industry’s CO2 emissions. That means private aviation contributes less than 1%?-0.04% to be exact?-of the total global CO2 emissions.

Additionally, the private jet industry is making a number of green travel efforts to further combat CO2 emissions. One major avenue is carbon offsetting, which allows travelers to purchase credits in order to counterbalance the carbon produced by their trip. Read more about carbon offsetting here.

Learn more about making your private travel green with Magellan Jets by calling 877-550-5387 or visiting

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