Never mind climate change, Davos prefers private jets

Participants to the World Economic Forum (WEF) annual meeting are seen in the Congress Centre, on January 22, 2019 in Davos, eastern Switzerland. (AFP)
Updated 22 January 2019
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Never mind climate change, Davos prefers private jets

  • It forecast nearly 1,500 private jet flights over the week of the World Economic Forum (WEF) to airports near Davos in the Swiss Alps
  • The website privatefly.com forecast an even higher number of private flight movements related to Davos this week, of around 2,000 in and out of local airports

DAVOS, Switzerland: The Davos elite say they are more worried than ever about climate change. But that isn’t stopping them chartering private jets in record numbers.
The convenience and comfort of flying privately rather than commercially appears to outweigh any concerns about the outsized carbon footprint it involves, judging by a number-crunching exercise by the company Air Charter Service (ACS).
It forecast nearly 1,500 private jet flights over the week of the World Economic Forum (WEF) to airports near Davos in the Swiss Alps.
That would be up from the more than 1,300 aircraft movements seen at last year’s forum, despite climate change registering as the top risk factor identified for the global economy in a survey of WEF movers and shakers last week.
In a blog post, the website privatefly.com forecast an even higher number of private flight movements related to Davos this week, of around 2,000 in and out of local airports.
And while most people reach Davos by car or train after alighting from airports such as Zurich, two to three hours’ away, a select few CEOs and government leaders hire helicopters to save time.
Demand for private jets in the week of Davos far outstrips other events that also loom large on the private aviation calendar, such as the Super Bowl or Champions’ League final, according to Andy Christie, private jets director at ACS.
“We have had bookings from as far as our operations in Hong Kong, India and the US — no other event has the same global appeal,” he said in a statement
And the trend is toward even more expensive, larger private jets such as the Gulfstream GV and Bombardier’s Global Express.
“This is at least in part due to some of the long distances traveled, but also possibly due to business rivals not wanting to be seen to be outdone by one another,” Christie said.
WEF organizers insist they are making the annual forum environmentally sustainable, offsetting the carbon emissions generated by private aviation as much as possible through their own initiatives on the ground.
“We encourage our partners from business and others to take that (offsetting measures) on,” Dominique Waughray, head of Global Public Goods at the WEF, told AFP last week.
“Most of the private aircraft that come in are actually for government officials, because under the Vienna convention the most efficient and secure way of getting people to an event like that is via an aircraft,” she said.
“So that is a sort of security brief, but we still offset them.”


Ex-Goldman banker to finish Malaysia legal process before US extradition

Updated 38 min 2 sec ago
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Ex-Goldman banker to finish Malaysia legal process before US extradition

  • Goldman’s role is under scrutiny as the Wall Street titan helped arrange $6.5 billion in bonds for 1MDB
  • Authorities in Malaysia and the US accuse former employees of bribery and stealing billions of dollars

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia: A former Goldman Sachs banker accused of involvement in the multi-billion-dollar 1MDB scandal will only be extradited to the United States after legal proceedings against him in Malaysia are completed, a minister said.
Huge sums of public money were purportedly stolen from Malaysian state fund 1MDB and used to buy everything from yachts to art in a scheme that allegedly involved former premier Najib Razak and contributed to his government’s election defeat.
Goldman’s role is under scrutiny as the Wall Street titan helped arrange $6.5 billion in bonds for 1MDB. Authorities in Malaysia and the US accuse former employees of bribery and stealing billions of dollars, and investigators believe cash was laundered through the US financial system.
Malaysian Ng Chong Hwa, a former managing director at the bank, was indicted in November when US authorities also lodged an extradition request. He has been in custody in Malaysia since the US indictment.
Malaysia also filed charges against Ng, more commonly known as Roger Ng, as well as Goldman.
At a court hearing last week, Ng agreed to stop fighting the extradition request and said he wanted to be sent to the US within 30 days.
But Malaysia’s government must approve his extradition, and Interior Minister Muhyiddin Yassin said Ng’s case in Malaysia must go ahead first.
“We will honor the extradition but we will prioritize the case in Malaysia until it is completed. This is the advice of the attorney-general, and we will abide by it,” Yassin said.
Ng’s case will likely come before the Malaysian courts again next month, he said.
Ng was charged in Malaysia in December with four counts related to 1MDB, and has pleaded not guilty. He faces up to 40 years in jail if convicted.
As well as Ng, former Goldman partner Tim Leissner and the bank’s subsidiaries are also accused of making false statements in order to steal billions of dollars, and of bribing officials.
Leissner has already pleaded guilty in the US to 1MDB-linked charges.