The world's 2nd-richest man, Louis Vuitton's CEO, sold his private jet after people started tracking it on Twitter: 'No one can see where I go'
- Bernard Arnault said LVMH sold its private jet after Twitter accounts started tracking it.
- The billionaire said he'd started renting private aircraft for his trips instead.
Bernard Arnault, the CEO of LVMH, said on Monday that the luxury-goods company sold its private jet following people's attempts to track the aircraft on social media.
The 73-year-old billionaire said he'd started renting private planes instead. He made the announcement an interview with Radio Classique, which was first reported by Bloomberg. The radio station is owned by LVMH.
"Indeed, with all these stories, the group had a plane and we sold it," Arnault said, according to a Bloomberg translation. "The result now is that no one can see where I go because I rent planes when I use private planes."
Multiple Twitter accounts that track and share publicly available flight data have sprung up over the past year — publicizing the travel activity of people such as Elon Musk and Taylor Swift. Two of the top accounts that track the Louis Vuitton cofounder's flights are @i_fly_Bernard and @laviondebernard. The accounts have a combined following of nearly 100,000 and were both created over the past six months.
Arnault appears to have made the switch to renting jets several weeks ago. In September, @laviondebernard tweeted about the billionaire's lack of recent flight data after noting several weeks earlier that LVMH had de-registered its plane in France.
"Still no word from either Bernard Arnault or LVMH on the subject of private jets," the account tweeted on September 10, according to a Bloomberg translation of the tweet. "So Bernard, are you hiding?"
Arnault is the second-wealthiest man — surpassing even the Amazon founder Jeff Bezos — with an estimated net worth of $133 billion, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index's estimate. He is the CEO, cofounder, and chair of LVMH and has amassed a luxury-goods empire that includes major names like Tiffany & Co., TAG Heur, and Dom Pérignon.
On Monday, Arnault's son Antoine Arnault defended the company's use of a private jet after his father faced criticism from French media outlets over the jet's influence on carbon emissions. The younger Arnault said a private plane gave executives an edge in the race to be first to a new product or deal.
"Our industry is hypercompetitive," the son said on a TV show, according to an Insider translation. "We haven't found anything better than a private plane to win that race every day and be just a small step ahead of our competitors."
Bernard Arnault is not the only billionaire to come under scrutiny in recent months for private-jet usage. In July, critics slammed Swift after she and her jet topped a list of those causing major carbon emissions. At the time, spokespeople for the music star said the "jet is regularly loaned out to other individuals."
Other public figures have expressed safety concerns over the sharing of flight data on social media. Earlier this year, Musk offered $5,000 to the person behind a Twitter account that tracked his travel, asking the Twitter user to shut it down. He failed to get the account shut down.
"I don't love the idea of being shot by a nutcase," Musk said in a text about the issue, Protocol reported.
Meanwhile, the Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg switched his aircraft after an account started tracking his plane, and the billionaire investor Mark Cuban brokered a deal with a man who tracked and shared his flight data by offering him business advice in exchange for deleting the account.
Translation by Marianne Guenot.
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