The European Union is investigating 20 airlines, including Air France, Lufthansa, and KLM, for potent greenwashing. These airlines are accused of misleading consumers about their environmental claims by overstating their environmental efforts, either through carbon offsetting or the use of sustainable fuels.

List of Airlines Under Investigation

The probe targets multiple carriers, including those within the Lufthansa Group: Brussels Airlines, Lufthansa, SWISS, Austrian Airlines, Air Dolomiti, and Eurowings. Air France-KLM and Norwegian also confirmed that they were part of the investigation. SAS received a formal letter from EU authorities, acknowledging its involvement in the inquiry.

Purpose of the Investigation

The European Union aims to assess whether airlines’ statements about reducing carbon dioxide emissions align with scientific evidence. If proven accurate, these measures could involve funding climate projects or adopting alternative fuels. However, any discrepancy between the claims and actual outcomes could imply deceptive practices.

Airlines for Europe (A4E), an industry group, acknowledged the importance of accurate information on sustainability. However, they criticized the current EU regulations as inconsistent across member states and still developing. TAP, a Portuguese airline, refrained from confirming its involvement in the probe but referred to A4E’s broader statement.

Complaint Source

The European Consumer Organisation (BEUC) initially filed the complaint that led to the investigation. BEUC named 17 airlines, including Air France, Lufthansa, Ryanair, and Wizz Air, alleging they engaged in deceptive environmental marketing practices.

Norwegian has confirmed receipt of the EU’s inquiry and is preparing to respond within the specified deadline. Meanwhile, several other carriers listed by BEUC, such as Finnair, Ryanair, and Wizz Air, have not immediately commented on the issue.

While the EU maintains confidentiality during the preliminary investigation stages, the probe could expand to include additional airlines. The results of the greenwashing claims for Air France and other airlines will likely influence the standardization of environmental claims across the European airline industry.

Image Source: Sam Chui