France to push for private jets regulation at EU level

France to push for private jets regulation at EU level

An Air France airplane lands at the Charles-de-Gaulle Airport in Roissy, near Paris, France, August 26, 2018. REUTERS/Christian Hartmann

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PARIS, Aug 23 (Reuters) – France will consult its partners in the European Union on ways to regulate private jet emissions after the comings and goings of French billionaires on the fuel-guzzling planes caused a political controversy over the summer.

While an outright ban is not on the agenda, government spokesman Olivier Veran said on Tuesday that at a time the government promotes more “sober” energy consumption habits, regulating private jets would send a message that the same rules apply to all.

Several Twitter accounts tracking French billionaires’ private jet flights have emerged recently, causing a public outcry over private jet emissions from the wealthy while regular folks are asked to save on energy.

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The leading “I Fly Bernard” account tracks the every move of a jet belonging to Bernard Arnault, the CEO of luxury giant LVMH (LVMH.PA) and one of the world’s richest men.

“Private jets have a symbolic value,” Veran told France Inter radio.

“One can understand that French people who cut their energy consumption can be hurt when some of his fellow citizens use a private jet to hop around from place to place even though in most cases private jets are used for business,” he said.

This is why Transport Minister Clement Beaune proposed that EU ministers look at “ways to compensate Co2 emissions” of private jet flights, Veran said.

Beaune over the weekend told Le Parisien newspaper that it will be more efficient to act on the matter at a European level “to have the same rules and the most impact”.

EU Transport Ministers are due to meet next month.

The head of the French Green party, Julien Bayou, who favours an outright ban, told RMC radio on Tuesday: “One cannot tolerate that some people burn with a few flights 50 years in the (energy) consumption of an average French person”.

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Reporting by Dominique Vidalon; editing by Michel Rose and Angus MacSwan

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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