Chaos in airports, restrictions due to the corona pandemic and it is less easy to get on a plane due to CO2 emissions. There are a number of reasons that make a flight less easy. But this does not apply to the rich of this world, who take a private plane on a trip within Europe without much opposition. And guess what? The number of private flights has increased significantly in the Netherlands over the past three years.
In the first eight months of 2022, the number of private jet flights was 67 percent higher than in 2019. Where to? Pleasure travel within Europe appears to be the most common destination. Research platform Follow the money delved into the growing popularity of private flights. Because it is no longer so obvious to fly via a ‘normal’ scheduled flight due to the pandemic and chaos at the airports. And there the difference between the ordinary passenger and the wealthy passenger becomes clear.
Private jets in the Netherlands in demand since the corona crisis
The number of private jet flights is increasing rapidly. That growth started around the dangers of the corona crisis, but continues. Where do the private jets fly to? Destinations such as Ibiza, Mallorca or Nice are apparently doing well. It also seems that London is an important flight destination for the Dutch market. As well as flights to Switzerland and Austria increased. Mainly in the first three months of the year, close to the winter sports areas. These private jets take off from VIP terminals, such as remote Schiphol East, with their own passport control, where you don’t have to queue quickly. Although all jets remained grounded during the initial shutdown, they began to revive in the summer months of 2020.
There are 44 registered private aircraft in the Netherlands. Whose are they? Eduard Hagens, founder of the IT company Exact, Sunweb CEO Joost Romeijn, kitchen giant Ben Mandemakers and Rituals CEO Raymond Cloosterman, Formula 1 driver Max Verstappen or media mogul John de Mol have their own aircraft. Last week it was announced that some ministers also regularly take government or private planes. A return flight to the Mediterranean costs a paltry 25,000 euros, and Amsterdam seems to be the epicenter for facilitating private jets.
Short flights Europe popular
And of course in the research of Follow the money also the CO2 emissions. After all, it’s a theme that we haven’t been able to ignore lately. And you guessed it, a private jet flight is not exactly CO2-friendly. The research platform makes a calculation. “A flight of four hours in one average private jet has the same ecological footprint as the average European per year: about 6.8 tons of CO2.”
The government decides in June this year that the number of flights at Schiphol by the end of 2023 must not exceed 440,000. Which is 60,000 fewer flights than the previous cap. It concerns trade, including air travel with passengers, freight and mail. And you might already be feeling the vibe: private jets are not included.
Private jets circumvent the rules
Moreover, an owner of a private jet must not own it from the public sector and must outsource it to a company with expertise. They arrange maintenance, schedules, pilots and flight attendants for the aircraft. An owner can also lease his jet to third parties. As, for example, John de Mol does. This allows them to minimize their costs. Some want to, others prefer to use the plane themselves,’ says Florian Hamerslag, who works for a Dutch private jet operator. His client base includes Quote-500 faces of real estate tycoon Chris Thunessen, Frank van Gool of labor broker OTTO, investor Marcel Boekhoorn and Verstappen.
“What is striking is that most fly to destinations that are easy to reach without a private jet,” according to the research platform. Also concludes Follow the money that private flights, both in the Netherlands and other countries, decreased in distance in 2022. In 2019 it was still 947 kilometers and in 2022 it was 891 kilometers. A flight that, in kilometers, is as long as a trip to Nice in France.
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