Billionaire Louis Vuitton CEO sells plane after people tracked flights on Twitter

Twitter accounts have recently sprung up to track the plane’s movements and estimate the greenhouse gas emissions from each flight

Ethan Freedman
Climate Reporter, New York
Monday 17 October 2022 22:41 BST
World Economic Forum reveals impact of climate change over next 100 years

The world’s second-richest person and his company have sold their private plane after people set up Twitter accounts tracking their flights.

Bernard Arnault, the CEO of the LVMH luxury fashion company, reported the sale on a company-branded podcast recently and noted that people had been following where the plane was going.

“The group had a plane and we sold it,” Bloomberg reports the fashion executive saying on the show.

“The result now is that no one can see where I go because I rent planes when I use private planes.”

These reports come on the heels of renewed criticism toward many celebrities and other members of the ultra-rich surrounding private plane usage and the extraordinary carbon footprint that comes with it.

Twitter users like laviondebernard — French for “Bernard’s plane” — and I Fly Bernard have recently been tracking the private jet flights taken by Mr Arnault and other members of the French uppercrust.

The user laviondebernard noticed the missing plane as early as last month.

“The LVMH private jet has not been registered in France since September 1, 2022,” @laviondebernard (French for “Bernard’s Plane”) wrote on 10 September (translated from French).

“Still no word from Bernard Arnault or LVMH on the subject of private jets. So Bernard, are we hiding?”

These Twitter accounts make a point to note the climate impacts of these private jet flights, which can emit massive amounts of planet-warming greenhouse gases like carbon dioxide (CO2).

The accounts have also spurred anger about private jet use in France recently, and the French government has come out in favour of a plan to raise taxes on private jets, reports Reuters.

Mr Arnault, along with his family, is the second-richest person in the world after Tesla CEO Elon Musk, with a net worth of around $150bn, reports Forbes. LVMH is the parent company of luxury brands like Louis Vuitton, Dom Pérignon and Givenchy.

His son, Antoine Arnault, has reportedly justified the use of a private plane, calling it a “work tool”, and said that it’s not good for business if their competitors knew where they were flying, according to Bloomberg.

The Independent has reached out to LVMH for comment.

Other celebrities like Elon Musk, Taylor Swift and members of the Kardashian family have also faced heightened criticism recently over the climate and pollution impacts of their private plane flights.

A report from the non-profit Transportation and Environment found that private flights pollute up to 14 times more per passenger than a commercial flight — and up to 50 times more per passenger than trains.

A one-hour private flight can also emit two tonnes of planet-warming carbon dioxide, a little less than 25 per cent of the average yearly carbon footprint for residents of the European Union, the report adds.

Transportation accounted for 14 per cent of global greenhouse gas emissions in 2010, according to the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

That’s just one of the reasons why the world’s wealthiest people have the biggest per-person impact on the world’s climate. Between 1992 and 2015, the richest one per cent of all people on earth contributed 15 per cent of all emissions, a report from the non-profit Oxfam has found.

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