Dassault Derides French ‘Flight Shaming’ Moves

Dassault Aviation CEO Eric Trappier at NBAA-BACE.

Credit: Brett Schauf/ShowNews

ORLANDO—Dassault Aviation CEO Eric Trappier said recent moves to regulate business aviation use in France are politically motivated and do nothing to address overall issues of environmental sustainability.

Commenting at the NBAA Business Aviation Convention & Exhibition (NBAA-BACE), Trappier said part of the “flight shaming” issue in France is tied to the use of the term “private jet” to corporate aircraft, rather than ‘business jet.” “There is a kind of turmoil in France in particular where they are called private jets—they are not called business jets. A business jet supports economic development and supports companies to extend their capabilities to commerce and industry. It makes a difference.”

Business aviation has recently become the renewed focus for flight-shaming efforts in France, where former Green Party leader Julien Bayou called earlier this year for a complete ban on business jets. Bayou’s comments came after France Transport Minister Clement Beaune had also called for restrictions on the use of private jets. Quoted by French newspaper Le Parisien, he said: “There can’t be a means of individual travel for comfort at a time when the president’s campaign [to reduce carbon footprints] requires everyone to make an effort.”

Beaune also indicated wider plans to push for the introduction of bans on flights between destinations already served by trains and for the use of higher taxes on business aircraft operations. These plans are expected to be proposed at a meeting of European transport ministers scheduled for Oct 20-21 in the Czech Republic. 

Trappier said Dassault’s business aviation environmental strategy is broad, ranging from improved efficiency operations and the use of 100% sustainable aviation fuel in its newest products, to longer term studies of zero-emission hybrid-powered concepts. “We are totally following the rules. We intend to be part of the solution and not part of the problem,” he said.

He also added that in the longer term answers to meeting environmental goals will only be possible through international collaboration. “It’s by working all together that we can find the solution. It's not only France and it's not only the U.S. alone. But if we can't gather the big countries like the U.S., China and India to work on that subject, it's out of the question to be able to have any impact on the environment.”

Guy Norris

Guy is a Senior Editor for Aviation Week, covering technology and propulsion. He is based in Colorado Springs.