What is a carbon-neutral flight?
A carbon-neutral flight is one that offsets the carbon emissions it uses via a formal process.
Every aircraft burns jet fuel and emits a certain amount of carbon dioxide (CO2) into the atmosphere. This can be offset via one of several carbon offset programs that allow private jet clients to purchase a certain number of carbon credits to offset the emissions from their flight.
For example, you might pay a company to plant trees for each flight you make. The positive effect on the environment from those trees means your flights are effectively carbon neutral. Many companies will provide you with a certificate demonstrating this.
Use of carbon offsets is a widely affordable process. The cost to offset emissions on a one way flight from New York to Los Angeles on a Citation X with 8 passengers is about $174. For a smaller jet on a shorter journey, from New York to Miami for six passengers on a light jet will cost just around $52.
Does carbon-neutral mean that the company that's receiving the payment for the carbon-neutral costs is planting trees?
There are many carbon offset programs, all of which aim to reduce CO2. Tree planting is just one example. Instead, you might be helping to save a rain forest, or reduce methane output. You might help change factory process to emit less CO2. Or it could go towards funding renewable energy projects like solar and wind farms.
If you have a preference, you’ll usually be able to choose the one that you like the most.