June 14th, 2024

Private jets descend on Montreal for F1 in emissions-heavy weekend

By The Canadian Press on June 7, 2024.

In this file photo, planes are parked at a private jet terminal at Harry Reid International Airport ahead of the Super Bowl on Thursday, Feb. 1, 2024, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/John Locher)

MONTREAL – Race cars aren’t the only elite vehicles set to arrive in Montreal for the Canadian Grand Prix this weekend, as private jets carrying thrill-seeking visitors descend on the city.

Analytics firm WingX projects that about 115 business jets in total will land in the Montreal area Friday through Sunday, which amounts to a 50 per cent spike from the daily average over the preceding month.

Last year saw 139 business planes from the U.S., Canada and as far as Italy touch down on the event weekend, up more than 40 per cent from 2019 in line with rising demand for private air travel since the COVID-19 pandemic.

Thomas Green, a policy adviser at the David Suzuki Foundation, says that as race teams, executives and celebrities swoop into the city, emissions are slated to rise due to both the race itself and the airplane activity around it.

Brussels-based advocacy group Transport & Environment says the pricey planes are five to 14 times more polluting than commercial aircraft on a per-passenger basis.

However, Barry Prentice, who heads the University of Manitoba’s transport institute, says the role of private jets in fostering economic activity and tourism should factor into equations of their overall impact.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published June 7, 2024.

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