Eighteen consumer organizations from different countries have accused 17 airlines, including Wizz Air, of misleading their customers in false climate claims. The airlines are being accused of greenwashing, which gives the customers the impression that flying can be made greener.
Misleading Claims in Aviation
Consumer organizations have accused airlines of misleading their customers with their wrong claims about the sustainability of aviation. According to reports, airlines' false claims give customers false hope that flying can be sustainable, which is not the case as aviation is not sustainable. The consumer organizations claim that airlines should be held accountable for their actions and called upon an extensive and Europe-wide investigation into the issue. Airlines such as Wizz Air that are misleading their customers about climate claims need to stop the practice, according to consumer organizations.
Impact of Misleading Claims
The consumer organizations have called for consumer protection authorities to reimburse consumers who have paid extra "green" charges based on wrong claims of aviation sustainability. Consumers have been told to pay extra charges for flying sustainably, which, according to consumer authorities, is pure greenwashing. Even if customers pay a green fare, aviation will not be sustainable as there are no technological solutions to decarbonize aviation. Misleading claims by airlines that suggest such solutions exist are being scrutinized by consumer protection authorities, according to Ursula Pachl, the BEUC’s deputy director general.
Airlines to be Called to Account
BEUC, along with 22 member associations from 18 countries, has complained to the European Commission and the national network of consumer protection authorities about the misleading claims by 17 airlines. Airlines such as Wizz Air, Ryanair, and others have been investigated, and consumer organizations are calling on these airlines to stop the practice. Even if airlines stopped claiming sustainability, consumers would still fly, and most flights would still be carbon-emitting flights. Companies should be held accountable for their false claims, and consumers should be compensated for having paid extra charges,
Flight Cancellation between Hungary and Romania
In other news, the airline AirConnect has recently announced the cancellation of its flight between Cluj Napoca, Romania, and the Hungarian capital. There are no details available on why the flight was cancelled.
Questions & Answers
What are the accusations against airlines, including Hungarian low-cost airline Wizz Air? Airlines are accused of greenwashing, making misleading and false claims that flying can be made greener, by consumer organisations from 18 countries, including BEUC and 22 member associations.
Which airlines are being investigated for making misleading climate claims? The following 17 airlines are being investigated and called on to end the misleading practice: Air Baltic, Air Dolomiti, Air France, Austrian, Brussels Airlines, Eurowings, Finnair, KLM, Lufthansa, Norwegian, Ryanair, SAS, SWISS, TAP, Volotea, Vueling, Wizz Air.
What is BEUC calling for in response to the misleading climate claims made by airlines? BEUC is calling for a Europe-wide investigation into the issue and for the airlines concerned, and the industry as a whole, to stop making claims that give consumers the impression that aviation is sustainable. They also want consumer protection authorities to require airlines to reimburse consumers where they have suggested paying extra "green" charges based on such misleading claims.
Why are airlines accused of greenwashing? BEUC claims that this is because aviation is not sustainable and will not be in the foreseeable future, even if consumers pay a 'green fare'. Depicting flying as a sustainable mode of transport is therefore considered to be pure greenwashing.
What is the response from BEUC to the allegations of greenwashing? BEUC is urging airlines to stop offering consumers a 'fake peace of mind' at a time when many are seeking to travel more sustainably.
Is the Hungarian low-cost airline Wizz Air the only airline facing these allegations in Hungary? No, Irish low-cost airline Ryanair, also popular in Hungary, is also facing these allegations.