It's like car-pooling, but only for the rich and famous who want to show their green credentials. Madonna, the Prince of Wales and 3000 other beautiful people have been invited to join the world's first private flight sharing club. This will allow them to still get around in style but reduce the environmental impact and cost of private jets that are currently flying empty 40% of the time.
The Flightshare Private Members Guild is the brainchild of Farnborough UK based David Lacy, an aviation veteran of 26 years who was the first to introduce carbon offsets to the European private jet industry last year.
Membership uniquely enables the sharing of private jet flights through access to the Guilds secure portal and private coordination service. The Guild is expected to support around 1500 members who, according to their invitation letter, will be "encouraged to cooperate in a spirit of collective endeavour and demonstrate a real commitment to meeting their travel needs in a sustainable manner".
Most of the fractional ownership and jet card schemes have contracts that would allow flight sharing and their members are encouraged to participate in the Guilds objectives.
Lacy stresses that this is a significant step forward from the recently maligned carbon offsetting schemes. Flightshare aims instead, to cut emissions at source.
David Lacy says: "Sharing trips in this way will reduce much of the waste in the private jet industry by utilising empty seats and empty legs. It's a known fact that the world's private jets currently fly empty for 40% of the time, often with several aircraft flying to and from the same airports, on the same day and at very similar times; creating their own congestion and using up precious air traffic slots"
"Major events in the entertainment, social, sporting and business calendar are frequent examples which create a 'honeypot' effect of private aircraft around airports. Additionally, we often find that people are simply travelling to the same area at the same time for general business or leisure purposes. We want to bring these people together where possible and save them time and money, but more importantly, to help create sustainability for the industry and the environment"
Last year, in Europe alone, there were 710,000 private flights. An estimated 250,000 of these were empty positioning flights with none of the seats occupied and of the remainder, most of these flew with a number of seats empty.
Flightshare worked closely with TRL (Transport Research Laboratory) and logistical software experts Carshare Online after consulting widely with private jet owners and operators, passengers, fractional owners and jet card holders in establishing a common sense solution to the high demand, low supply and increasing cost of private jets. "The Flightshare solution uniquely benefits all stakeholders and the environment: a true win win situation" enthused Lacy.
The Guilds main ethos is one of decorum and will draw its membership exclusively from a select group of high profile individuals: Royalty and senior diplomats; carefully selected celebrities, sports personalities and high net worth individuals; directors of FTSE 100 and 250 companies and directors of other large multinationals.
If you qualify for membership, be sure to expect an invitation from Flightshare through your letterbox soon.