Eco-friendly charter offered

 - December 21, 2006, 6:43 AM

Private jet passengers whose consciences are troubled by their jet’s contribution to global warming can now rest easier with the new CarbonNeutral option for Air Partner’s JetCard block charter program. Customers pay a 2-percent supplement to their flight-hour costs, and Air Partner channels this money into four climate-friendly energy and technology projects to offset the damage done by the aircraft’s engine emissions.

If the market responds positively to the initiative, Air Partner intends to expand the program to its ad hoc charter brokering services. “Today is the first step on the road to converting ourselves to being carbon neutral; JetCard is a small part of our business, but its high profile has made it a natural starting point for the group to focus on its strategy to take responsibility for its environmental impact,” commented Air Partner CEO David Savile at the December 3 launch of the CarbonNeutral option.
Funds raised by the 2-percent supplement are invested in the following four climate-friendly energy and technology projects: capturing agricultural methane from pig dung in Germany to generate electricity for farms and reduce the harmful effect of the gas itself; providing solar energy for Indian villagers; a wind farm in Turkey; and hydro-electric power generation in Central America.

Air Partner worked with climate change specialist The CarbonNeutral Company and the Edinburgh Centre for Carbon Management to calculate the “carbon footprint” generated by an hour flown in a chartered business jet. The calculations factor in the radiative forcing index, which considers all aircraft emissions including carbon dioxide, methane, water vapor and nitrogen oxides. CarbonNeutral Company CEO Jonathan Shopley said that the new option gives JetCard customers the chance to efficiently redress the climate change impact of their flying at a time when, in his view, there is no “effective regulation to address rising emissions from the aviation sector.”

Air Partner declines to reveal exactly how many cards it has sold, but the company has reported strong sales since it launched the jet card last summer. According to JetCard marketing director Richard Thomas, most customers have signed up for 25-hour cards for the program’s light and midsize jet categories. He said that several clients have already used their initial blocks of 25 flight hours and have now bought new cards.

JetCard offers flights in jets operated by Air Partner’s worldwide network of approved charter firms, which now includes London-based Gold Air International, which the air charter brokering group acquired in early October. The program is aimed mainly at wealthy individuals rather than corporate clients.