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Aviation Blog

The Guilt-Free Future Of Private Jet Travel – Forbes

Remove some of the guilt of private jet travel by replacing your fossil fuel burn with Sustainable … [+] Aviation Fuel
Private aviation is in the hot seat. In recent days, numerous high profile personalities have been named and shamed for their private jet use – last week celebrity Kylie Jenner was criticised for taking an 17-minute flight. The source of most critics’ frustration? Fuel burn.
Well, there could be a way to silence critics and remove some of guilt of flying private. Victor thinks it has the answer to alleviating some of the environmental impact of flying by tackling the problem at the source – fuel.
The pioneering private jet charter company has launched a sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) programme which aims to reduces its private jet charter emissions by up to 80%. Partnering with Neste, the world’s leading producer of SAF, the “pay here, use there” initiative is the first to offer SAF at scale in the on-demand jet charter sector. It works by encouraging Victor members to pay a premium to replace fossil fuel with Neste SAF on every private jet and commercial jet charter booking.
“It is an industry-leading blueprint that we hope other companies will follow as the aviation sector strives for Net Zero carbon emissions by 2050,” says Jonathan Wood, Vice President Europe, Renewable Aviation, at Neste. “SAF is essential to reaching this goal, immediately reducing life-cycle greenhouse gas emissions.”
Victor, founded in 2010 by Clive Jackson, has long led the call for a more sustainable aviation industry – in 2018, it launched a carbon offset programme with the intention of becoming carbon neutral. Since 2019, it has been disclosing emissions of every flight and offsetting the carbon miles flown by its clients by 200%. This new programme takes its work to the next level.
As the initiative launches, Victor co-CEO Toby Edwards talks to Forbes about how it works, its importance on an industry level, and how SAF could be the key to the future of private jet travel.
Toby Edwards Victor co-CEO
Congratulations on such a brilliant new initiative. What’s the response been so far?
We’re a couple of weeks in and, to be honest, we’re delighted with how it’s going. We’ve had a number of customers, both in group charter and private jets, pay significantly more already for sustainable aviation fuel (SAF). It goes to show that if you make something available that’s better for the planet, some people will start to take it up. One of those customers is a very well-known band and the rest are high net worth individuals.
Why did you choose to partner with Neste?
Sustainable aviation fuel is very new – a lot of people still don’t know what it is and it’s produced in very few locations. We chose to partner with Neste because they are the world’s leading producer of sustainable aviation fuel. They’re already producing hundreds of tons of SAF by the hour. They have refineries in Finland and Amsterdam, and they’re in the process of completing a refinery in Singapore which is going to massively increase their ability to produce SAF.
How does the ‘pay here, use there’ programme work?
At checkout, you can choose exactly how much fossil fuel you want to replace with SAF. It’s a ‘pay here, use there’ method. The slider starts at 5% and goes up to 100%, and so far, those customers who have opted in have chosen 40% on average as a replacement. It’s increasing the cost by about 5%, more than what a flight would typically cost. To put that into context, if you were to replace 100% of the fossil fuel with Neste MY SAF ™, on average, you’re looking at increasing the overall cost of the charter by about 20%.
Why don’t you simply fill all Victor jets with SAF?
It would reduce the impact of the partnership if we had to start shipping this fuel to all of the airports that we use at Victor – last year, our sector used about 4,000 different airports and it’s going to take many years for those airports to have SAF. The reason for the ‘pay here, use there’ method is to ensure that the SAF can scale without that infrastructure barrier. When you check out with Victor, you select how much fossil fuel you want to replace with Neste SAF. Of course, the more you replace, the better for the planet, but the higher the price of your quote.
Then, you would check out just like any other customer and itemized in your booking receipt would show you exactly how much SAF you purchased. Because of the changing nature of our business, we notify Neste after those bookings have actually flown, at which point we know that SAF purchased is certain and we can therefore make the purchase and allow Neste to deliver the SAF that we’ve bought to one of their partner airlines.
The truck takes the SAF from the refinery to the airport. After those flights happen and the fuel’s been burned, Neste provides us with the delivery confirmation that guarantees that the SAF that was purchased six weeks earlier by the Victor member has actually been utilized by an airline. We then send the member a certificate.
An airplane being filled with Sustainable Aviation Fuel
What does the airline using the SAF pay?
The airline pays the normal fossil fuel price because the Victor customer has paid the premium for the SAF. An important nuance is that, whilst the airline can say that they’ve flown with SAF, on this occasion they can’t claim the emission reduction – the initial reduction is claimed by the Victor customer because they were the one that paid the premium. That process is extremely transparent. It’s audited by an external party and it has a very clear chain of custody. This makes the partnership aligned with science-based targets.
So, Victor members are able to claim these reductions against their own reduction goals?
Exactly. Victor customers are reducing their ‘scope three’ emissions in a credible way. In order to create something that’s aligned with science based targets, and therefore credible for achieving net zero, fundamentally, it has to be in sector. And so whilst the SAF is not going in our planes, it’s still in sector and it’s still immediate, therefore the co2 emission savings are exactly the same. We’re also solving a problem for airlines that want to do good but don’t have the infrastructure.
How does the programme relate to the SAF mandates being discussed by governments around the world?
Mandates are coming but part of the problem is that the mandates are not aggressive enough. Our scheme is a voluntary scheme in addition to whatever mandates are being made by, for example, the European Commission. The EU will mandate a certain level of SAF and, whatever that is, airlines will then have to buy SAF over the course of the year to tick the box with the mandate. Ours will be in addition.
Victor private jet
What’s the long-term goal?
We don’t want to frighten everyone off by mandating 100% SAF but I think, as an absolute minimum, we want to be achieving 10% of all flights with SAF by 2030 – on top of whatever the mandates are. My inclination is that we will see greater uptake than that far sooner, knowing how successful our offsetting programme was. There may be big fliers who have a greater conscience and therefore spend more on SAF, but it’s too soon to say.
What’s your advice for people who wish to fly more sustainably?
Step one is to look at the options available. Don’t fly in an ultra-long range jet or a heavy jet, if a mid-size or light jet will work because their emissions are likely to be less. Or if there are two similar aircraft ones, the newer one’s probably got lower emissions. Step two is sustainable aviation fuel – it’s credible and measurable and right now it’s the most pragmatic solution to reducing your emissions when flying. The third step is offsetting, which is supplementary – we do that anyway, irrespective of the customer’s point of view on climate emissions.
For more information on flying sustainably with Victor, visit: flyvictor.com/en-gb/flying-sustainably

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