UK advertising regulator Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has banned several airline adverts. The Air France-KLM, Lufthansa and Etihad Airways adverts were pulled on 6 December due to “greenwashing” allegations.

The ASA argued the advertisements “gave a misleading impression of the advertiser’s environmental impact”.

The rulings which were upheld on Wednesday focused on adverts that were published in July 2023.

Etihad Airways’ advert stated: “Etihad Airways – Book Your Flight Today…Enjoy Great Discounts, Offers and Deals on Your Flight Bookings. Explore the World With Confidence and Total Peace Of Mind With Etihad Airways. Environmental Advocacy. Award-Winning Service”.

The Lufthansa advert in question stated: “Fly now with Lufthansa…Book your ticket directly with Lufthansa and explore destinations around the world…Fly more sustainably”.

Air France-KLM’s advert stated: “Manchester to Bangkok…Air France flights…Air France is committed to protecting the environment: travel better and sustainably”.

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The ASA code, written by the Committees of Advertising Practice (CAP), requires environmental claims to be supported by a “high level of evidence” which would lend proof to the statements made by the three airlines.

ASA emphasised the misleading claims and how they can damage the aviation industry: “We understood that air travel produced high levels of both CO2 and non-CO2 emissions, which were making a substantial contribution to climate change.

“We also understood that there were currently no initiatives or commercially viable technologies in operation within the aviation industry that would adequately substantiate absolute green claims”.

The rulings found that the companies had breached regulations and stated that the statements “must not appear again in the form complained about.” ASA noted that the ads breached CAP Code (Edition 12) rules 3.1 (Misleading advertising), and 11.1 and 11.3 (Environmental claims).

The ASA said Etihad Airways had removed the ad once it had been notified of the initial complaint.