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By Alex Raskin Sports News Editor For and Associated Press

15:04 14 Feb 2024, updated 15:53 14 Feb 2024

  • READ MORE: Why Las Vegas was the PERFECT host for Super Bowl LVIII
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Not only was Super Bowl LVIII the most watched in television history, but the biggest event on the NFL calendar also attracted a near-record number of private planes to Las Vegas over the weekend.

According to the business flight tracker WingX, there were 882 private jets that flew in and out of Las Vegas for the big game. Only Super Bowl LVII last year in Glendale, Arizona saw more private air traffic with 931 private flights.

Sunday’s event ranks second in Sin City’s history trailing the inaugural Las Vegas Grand Prix, which drew nearly 1,000 private jets to Southern Nevada.

Obviously Taylor Swift‘s 13-hour flight from her tour date in Tokyo drew the most attention, and for good reason. Her Bombardier Global 6000 would have emitted more than 50 tons of pollution between Japan and Los Angeles alone, not including the second leg of her journey into Las Vegas.

But many of the private planes were used for much shorter journeys. One flight was in the air for less than 30 minutes, while 81 private jets went back and forth to Los Angeles, which is less than an hour away. That’s significant because private jets emit five to 14 times more pollution per passenger than commercial planes and 50 times more than trains, according to the European clean transportation nonprofit group Transport & Environment.

Taylor Swift’s Bombardier Global 6000 is seen arriving at LAX before flying to Las Vegas
Taylor Swift and friends react during Super Bowl LVIII, which her boyfriend’s team won

And with limited parking space in Las Vegas for all the extra equipment, several private jets were expected to fly to nearby airports until they were called upon for the return journey.

‘We are looking at a good amount of drop and go operations. That’s common in this kind of event,’ Joe Rajchel, a spokesman for the Clark County Department of Aviation, told CNN.

Private air travel remains a major environmental concern. Demand died down somewhat last year, but there remains an estimated 800 million tons of carbon dioxide emitted by private plans each year, according to the International Energy Agency.

That’s about 2 percent of total energy-related emissions globally, according to CNN.

Meanwhile, celebrities such as Swift and Elon Musk have pushed to conceal details about their use of private planes, citing safety concerns.

Critics have accused the singer and investor of trying to hide from negative publicity.

In late December, Swift’s camp hit Jack Sweeney, a junior studying information technology at the University of Central Florida, with a cease-and-desist letter that blames his automated tracking of her private jet for tipping off stalkers as to her location. In the letter, attorneys from the law firm Venable accuse Sweeney of effectively providing ‘individuals intent on harming her, or with nefarious or violent intentions, a roadmap to carry out their plans.’

Private planes emit less CO2 than jumbo jets like the Chiefs’ (pictured), but are less efficient

Sweeney provided the link to that letter in an email to The Associated Press. In that message, he emphasized that while he has never intended to cause harm, he also believes strongly in the importance of transparency and public information.

‘One should reasonably expect that their jet will be tracked, whether or not I’m the one doing it, as it is public information after all,’ he wrote.

Sweeney says his automated tracking setup repackages public flight data that private jets broadcast using a method called ADS-B; such broadcasts are required by the Federal Aviation Administration, a government agency. Hobbyists have long collected this data for use in tracking aircraft flights without incident. Nevertheless, the Venable attorneys have demanded Sweeney ‘immediately stop providing information about our client’s location to the public.’

At one point Sweeney had more than 30 such accounts on Twitter, now known as X after Elon Musk purchased the site for $44 billion in 2022. Musk subsequently had his own dustup with Sweeney, tweeting at one point that his commitment to free speech required him not to ban Sweeney’s @elonjet account even though he considered it ‘a direct personal safety risk.’

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