Michel Coulomb

CEO, Elit’Avia: Focused on a Sustainable Future

The Big Picture

The private aviation industry is expected to grow steadily through the end of the decade. Honeywell’s Global Business Aviation Outlook forecasts up to 7,400 new business jet deliveries, worth $238 billion, by 2031.

Transport Malta’s aircraft registry is also in full growth with 43 air operator certificates (AOCs) and 721 registered aircraft (as of May 2022).

However, anyone who attended EBACE would probably agree that sustainability was a dominant theme in Geneva this year. So, the challenge for the entire industry is to successfully manage growth and prosperity while taking concrete actions to limit the destructive effects of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.

A Framework for Progress

The Elit’Avia team is proud to be leading its industry with progressive sustainability initiatives that permit the coexistence of a robust industry and responsible environmental stewardship.

In early 2022, Elit’Avia was named a European Business Aviation Association (EBAA) Ambassador. As part of an influential group of industry leaders, Elit’Avia contributes to the advancement of progressive policy-making that will benefit the industry by promoting best practices. Specifically, Elit’Avia is focused on advancing sustainability adoption among the EBAA membership.

“Sustainability is one of the biggest challenges facing private aviation today. We applaud Transport Malta’s Civil Aviation Directorate (CAD) for its progressive stance on this issue. Working with the CAD, Elit’Avia can drive change within the EBAA and the global private aviation community,” says Michel Coulomb, CEO, Elit’Avia.

Our clients – both aircraft owners and individual charter passengers – want to reduce their GHG emissions. So, we have anopportunity tohelpsimplify complex processes. Not only is this doing the right thing for the environment, it’s good for business because it has become a competitive advantage – directly driven by client demand.

Walking the Walk

Elit’Avia measured its own carbon emissions for 2021. 69% of the company’s emissions came directly from operating its fleet of aircraft. The remaining 31% came from related areas, including aircraft maintenance, electrical power and employee business travel.

GHG emissions were calculated by Elit’Avia’s sister company ZenithJet, which introduced sustainability services in April, 2022. Calculations covered “GHG Protocol Scope 1, 2 and 3 emissions”, defined as follows:

Scope 1: Emissions resulting directly from reporting company’s operations.

Scope 2: Indirect upstream activities (ex: electricity used for heating/cooling offices).

Scope 3: Indirect upstream and downstream activities (ex: goods/services purchased and investments).

Before an individual or organization can effectively reduce their carbon footprint, they need to measure their emissions. An accurate baseline is a prerequisite for change. Our objective is to make Elit’Avia carbon- neutral by 2025. The first step is to offset our charter operations. In parallel, we will collaborate with employees and partners/suppliers to reach carbon neutrality.”

EU-ETS Membership

Simply put, carbon offsetting is the acquisition of credits to compensate for unavoidable carbon emissions (for example, operating aircraft). Credits are generally defined as compliance-based (obligatory) or voluntary. Both approaches can be difficult to implement.

Elit’Avia is a member of the European Union Emissions Trading System (EU-ETS), which is the world’s first and largest compliance-based carbon market.

As EU-ETS members, we understand the strengths, weaknesses and mechanics of this initiative. While obviously an essential first step, it falls short of expectations. In fact, we have concluded that EU-ETS only covers about 5% of total emissions.

A Bombadier Global 6000 in the Elit’Avia fleet
Bombadier Global 6000 Interior

In other words, an aircraft operator seeking carbon neutrality must implement other initiatives to address the remaining 95% of its emissions. This is where voluntary initiatives – for example, ICAO Carbon Offsetting and Reduction Scheme for International Aviation (CORSIA)-eligible offsets – are essential for success.

The Elit’Avia team is also able to leverage the knowledge and expertise of its partner Azzera, an innovative provider of carbon offsetting and compliance solutions founded by business aviation veterans. The Azzera team diligently selects and verifies offset projects, delivers proof of carbon- neutral flights and retirement certificates, and may help aircraft owners achieve carbon neutrality across all operations.

A Solution for Charter Passengers

Working with its aircraft-owner clients, all charter flights on Elit’Avia’s managed fleet will be carbon- neutral.

The newly-launched ‘Elit’Avia Green Card’ is tailor- made for travelers seeking the peace of mind of sustainable private air travel for an all-inclusive fee. Ideal for passengers requiring 25-100 flight hours per year, with minimal financial commitment and fully- transparent terms, the ‘Elit’Avia Green Card’ offers a sustainable, cost-effective, convenient, safe and luxurious private aviation experience.

The Elit’Avia Green Card responds directly to the needs and values of today’s private aviation charter client. All flights are certified carbon-neutral, which is now a baseline requirement for a growing number of people. Plus, the convenience, transparency and cost-efficiency of the jet card model are well- established. We wish to bring the benefits of private aviation to new clients while facilitating their pursuit of carbon-neutral air travel”.

The Road Ahead

With more than 22,000 business jets in service today and that number expected to approach 30,000 by the end of the decade, the rapid implementation of carbon offset initiatives is essential.

Significant investment in carbon avoidance and removal projects is one of the essential elements in combatting climate change. At Elit’Avia, we are committed to implementing sustainable operations and to advancing sustainability across the industry.”

We are proud to be taking a leadership role in the fight against climate change. Working with Transport Malta’s CAD and the EBAA, we can lead by example, whilehelpingotheroperators, ownersandpassengers achieve their carbon neutrality objectives. Not only is it essential for the planet, but it’s also the future of our business,” concludes Michel Coulomb.

About Us

Elit’Avia is a private aviation company that provides a full range of services including charter, aircraft management, sales, leasing, flight operations management, staff provision and continuing airworthiness management organization (CAMO) services. The company was founded in Ljubljana, Slovenia in 2006 and earned a Transport Malta air operator certificate (AOC) in 2014.

Elit’Avia’s Malta office is in the Safi Aviation Park, located within the perimeter of the Malta International Airport.

Michel Coulomb may be reached at michel.coulomb@elitavia.com