A hot potato: Billionaires do seem to enjoy private planes, especially for journeys so short that the rest of us would use ground-based transport to complete them. But what's someone worth $133 billion to do when their jet is being tracked by Twitter users exposing their environment-destroying traveling? Sell it, of course.
As reported by Gizmodo, Bernard Arnault is the CEO of luxury brand LVMH and the world's second-richest person with a fortune that puts him above Jeff Bezos and below leader Elon Musk on Bloomberg's Billionaires Index.
Like other members of the rich and famous club, Arnault prefers the comfort and privacy of taking a private jet. He's also one of the many people whose planes are being tracked on Twitter using publicly accessible information and transponder signals.
One of these accounts, laviodebernard (Bernard's Plane), revealed that Arnault's private jet had not been registered in France since September 1, 2022. The billionaire admitted on the LVMH-owned podcast that the group sold it. "The result now is that no one can see where I go because I rent planes when I use private planes," he explained.
Bernard's son, Antoine Arnault, who is also an LVMH board member and director of communications for Louis Vuitton, said competitors could get an edge by knowing where the LVMH jet is. He confirmed that the plane was sold over the summer.
C'est l'heure du bilan du mois de septembre 2022 pour les 5 avions de nos milliardaires:— I Fly Bernard (@i_fly_Bernard) October 1, 2022
- nombre de vols: 26✈️
- 48,4 heures de vol ⏱️
- vol le plus court: 30min 🤡
- CO2 émis: 203 tonnes """
Premier mois sans l'avion de Bernard Arnault (dont il s'est séparé 🥲) pic.twitter.com/7XNAj26tP7
Another Twitter account, I Fly Bernard, noted that private planes used by millionaires (and billionaires, presumably) coming to and from France had emitted 203 tons of CO2 during 48 hours of flights in September alone.
One of the best-known Twitter users who tracks private planes is Jack Sweeney. He has accounts that track Mark Cuban, Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg, celebrities, and more. He also follows the yachts and private jets of Russian Oligarchs and tracks flights of planes registered to President Vladimir Putin and Russian VIPs.
Elon Musk famously offered Sweeney $5,000 to close an account tracking the Tesla boss' plane as Musk didn't "love the idea of being shot by a nutcase." Sweeney said he'd remove it for $50,000, but the world's richest person never got back to him after saying he'd consider the offer.