Private jet flights in the UK soar to new heights – analysis

The UK has the busiest private jet route, the most polluting route and the most flights overall out of any European country, according to a new analysis.


The UK has been revealed as the top destination for private jet flights in Europe in a new analysis commissioned by Greenpeace. It showed that a private jet took off from this country every six minutes last year, and that the UK can claim the busiest route, the most polluting route and the most flights overall.

The analysis showed that the number of private jets taking off from the UK increased by a staggering 75% in 2022 to 90,256 flights that emitted half a million tonnes of CO2 – more than in any other European country.

The findings come as the government is expected to announce (30 March) a package of measures aimed at meeting its net zero commitments and competing with recent US and EU incentives for green investment.

The analysis also found that within Europe, the UK has:

  • Most private flights: At 90,256, a private jet took off from the UK every six minutes
  • Most emissions: Private jets in the UK caused half a million tonnes of CO2 in 2022 – the highest in Europe
  • Busiest route: Flights between London and Paris were the most popular route accounting for 3,357 flights. Six of the top 10 routes also included London.
  • Most polluting route: The journey of less than five miles between Farnborough and Blackbushe in Hampshire is the most carbon-intensive route

Private jet ban

The research conducted by Dutch environmental consultancy CE Delft found that private jet traffic across Europe has soared from 350,000 flights in 2021 to over 570,000 in 2022. The associated CO2 emissions more than doubled over the same period to over 3.3 million tonnes.

Almost one-in-four (39%) of all private jet flights in Europe were considered ‘very short-haul’ meaning that they were less than 500km and could easily have been train trips. As the most polluting mode of transportation on the planet per passenger kilometre, Greenpeace is calling for a ban on private jet travel.

The analysis also considered the ‘carbon intensity’ of different routes, measured as CO2 output divided by distance, to work out the least efficient routes. In both 2021 and 2022, the 7.4km (4.6 mile) flight between Blackbushe and Farnborough topped the rankings as Europe’s most carbon intensive route. It takes less than 30 minutes to cycle between the two airports.

Doug Parr, Policy Director at Greenpeace UK, said: “Private jets are staggeringly polluting and generally pointless. Many of these journeys can be covered almost as quickly by train, and some of them by bicycle. Millions of people around the world are facing climate chaos, losing livelihoods or worse, while a tiny minority are burning jet fuel like there’s no tomorrow. If the government is serious about net zero and a fair transition to low-carbon transport then private jets should be first on the chopping block.”

Klara Maria Schenk, Transport Campaigner for Greenpeace’s Mobility for All campaign, said: “The alarming growth of private jet flights is entirely at odds with all the climate science that tells us to bring down CO2 emissions immediately in order to avert total disaster. The new IPCC report shows more clearly than ever that we have to cut the excessive consumption of fossil fuels urgently. Over 60% of the oil used globally is for transport. Reducing oil-powered transport immediately is a no-brainer, starting with a ban on ultra-polluting private jets.”

Notes to editors:

Read the full report here: 

For more information, contact Kai Tabacek: / +44 (0)7970 030019

The top-10 most popular routes for private jets in Europe are as follows:

Flight route Number of flights in 2022 Approximate Distance*
Paris-London / London-Paris 3,357 343 km (213 miles)
Nice-London / London-Nice 2,896 1029 km (639 miles)
Paris-Geneva / Geneva-Paris 2,745 410 km (255 miles)
Paris-Nice / Nice-Paris 2,311 686 km (426 miles)
Geneva-London / London-Geneva 1,997 746 km (463 miles)
Geneva-Nice / Nice-Geneva 1,671 292 km (181 miles)
Rome-Milan / Milan/Rome 1,667 478 km (297 miles)
Milan-London / London-Milan 1,355 959 km (596 miles)
London-Farnborough / Farnborough-London 1,343 49 km (31 miles)
London-Amsterdam / Amsterdam-London 1,298 357 km (222 miles)

* Distances were calculated using

Eurocontrol defines a ‘very short-haul’ flight as being less than 500km (311 miles).

CE Delft used data provided by aviation analytics company Cirium. The research looks at all private flights departing from and arriving in European countries between 2020 and 2022. Flights are disaggregated by year, route and aircraft type. Certain small aircraft types with less than three seats have been excluded from the data, as they are mainly used for leisure rather than for business or private flights. Flights to and from airports without an IATA code, and flights that arrive at the same airport as they have departed from, were also excluded. The CO2 emissions of all flights were calculated using the Eurocontrol Small Emitters Tool.

According to a study by Transport & Environment, private jets are 5 to 14 times more polluting than commercial planes (per passenger), and 50 times more polluting than trains.

In 2018, 50% of all aviation emissions were caused by only 1% of the world’s population.

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