Bernard Arnault, head of luxury goods giant Louis Vuitton and the world’s second richest person, stated on Oct. 17 in an interview with Radio Classique, a French radio station, that he sold his company’s private jet to avoid being watched by plane trackers on Twitter.
I Fly Bernard and Bernard’s Airplane are two French Twitter accounts that regularly post the travel routes of planes owned by French billionaires to raise awareness about the pollution created by petrochemicals. The two accounts have been tracking the billionaire’s flights for six months. They have more than 100,000 followers combined.
“63 French billionaires emit as much CO2 as 50 per cent of the population,” the I Fly Bernard bio reads.
“With all these stories, the group had a plane, and we sold it,” Arnault said in the interview, Bloomberg reported. “The result now is that no one can see where I go because I rent planes when I use private planes.”
In the same interview, Antoine Arnault, the 73-year-old billionaire’s son, stated that there is a financial motive for keeping his family’s travel details private. “It’s not good that our competitors can see where we are at any moment,” he explained. “That provide ideas; it can also offer leads and clues.”
Social media has recently seen the rise of independent private aircraft trackers. In the United States, Twitter accounts like @ElonJet track the whereabouts of billionaires like Elon Musk. A teenager created a Twitter account in 2021 to track Musk’s aeroplane movements.
The tech tycoon offered the account owner $5,000 (€5,076) to close it down, but he declined.