Prince Harry defends use of private jets at the launch of his sustainable travel program

The Duke of Sussex has defended his use of private jets as he announced the launch of a global initiative that aims to change the impact of travel. Speaking in Amsterdam, Prince Harry said that the programme, Travalyst, aims to make travel more sustainable, help protect destinations and benefit communities long into the future, and to enable consumers to make more environmentally-friendly choices while travelling.

Prince Harry at the launch of Travalyst
Prince Harry said that the programme, Travalyst, aims to make travel more sustainable. Image: Chris Jackson/Getty Images

Although he is spearheading the campaign, Harry and his wife Meghan have been criticised over using private jets to travel on four occasions recently. This includes flying on Elton John's jet for a vacation at the musician's house in Nice, which Elton justified by saying he bought carbon offsets for them. When asked about this at the launch, Harry replied, "I came here by commercial. I spend 99% of my life travelling the world by commercial. Occasionally there needs to be an opportunity based on a unique circumstance to ensure my family are safe, and it’s genuinely as simple as that."

Prince Harry at the launch of Travalyst in Amsterdam
Prince Harry at the launch of Travalyst in Amsterdam. Image: Chris Jackson/Getty Images

Travalyst is the first project launched under Sussex Royal, the charitable foundation established by the Duke and Duchess. Harry spent two years working on the initiative with partners Booking.com and others. The name is a fusion of the words "travel" and "catalyst," and comes from the partners viewing their role in sustainable travel as catalysts to accelerate positive changes in travel.

Harry and Meghan walking in a forest
Harry and Meghan's use of private jets has come under criticism. Image: Kirsty Wigglesworth - Pool/Getty Images

"I am not a tourism or business expert, but through my travels I have observed the unique relationship between community and environment, and have noticed something alarming," said Prince Harry. "There wasn’t the symbiosis or connection there needed to be and I wanted to understand why. I am one of those people fortunate enough to have a platform and I want to use it to tackle hard problems in the hope of finding solutions, and that’s how Travalyst was born."

To learn more about the new initiative, please visit Travalyst's website here.