Private jet travel is known to come with a hefty carbon footprint per mile, but even mildly climate-concerned plebeians are horrified to learn that celebrities sometimes use their private jets to travel distances that could be covered in less than an hour’s drive. A recent Guardian article about the planetary impact of these mini-flights, logged by automated Twitter account Celebrity Jet Tracker, found that Kylie Jenner, Mark Wahlberg, and Kenny Chesney are among the offenders, some logging flights as short as 17 minutes.
The highest carbon footprint came from an 18-minute flight taken by the rapper Drake — from Hamilton, Ontario to Toronto. On Tuesday, Drake weighed in on this particular flight by commenting on an Instagram post by RealTorontoNewz: “This is just them moving planes to whatever airport they are being stored at for anyone who was interested in the logistics,” he wrote. “Nobody takes that flight.”
This explanation does not provide fans the comfort that Drake ostensibly intended. Rather, it revealed yet another polluting aspect associated with the ownership of private jets: flying them, empty, from runway to storage facility. Drake’s private jet is a Boeing 767, the type of aircraft that would normally ferry 200-odd passengers overseas, which might also explain why his flights have such an outsized carbon footprint. In 2019, he debuted Air Drake on Instagram in a video that includes him boasting: “No rental, no timeshare.”
No purchase, either. It turns out that the influencer economy is at least partly to blame for this exercise in conspicuous consumption. Drake’s 767 was a gift valued at approximately $200 million from CargoJet, a Canadian cargo airline. The Hamilton storage facility to which the plane had to fly is almost certainly CargoJet’s own hangar. A month after Air Drake’s Instagram debut, TMZ reported that CargoJet had given Drake the plane as an investment in advertising — in hopes that the rapper’s social media posts would boost their profile.
Again, CargoJet sells freight shipments, not luxury travel. One assumes that Drake is not transporting several thousand AirPods to an Amazon warehouse in the hull of his plane.
Has Drake has ever expressed concern about climate change? In his 2014 single “Heat of the Moment,” he crooned:
And all the cops are still hangin’ out at the doughnut shops
Talkin’ ’bout how the weather’s changin’
The ice is meltin’ as if the world is endin’
She asked me
“Who are you gonna be when it’s all over? When it’s all over?”
In 2022, we have our answer: He is going to be a man flying alone in a repurposed commercial airliner donated to him by a cargo shipping company for clout.