This emerges from a ruling by the Korneuburg Regional Court following a lawsuit by the Association for Consumer Information (VKI). The background: The airline had advertised a connection to Venice as CO2-neutral. According to the VKI broadcast, the court decided that the information was misleading because although sustainable aviation fuel had been added, the information did not correspond to reality. Specifically, the AUA advertised on Twitter and on its homepage with the text “Flying to the Biennale CO2-neutrally? No art for us! 100% SAF”. This was supplemented by the passage: “Because together with Vienna Airport and Venezia Airport we will take you to the Biennale Arte in Venice with sustainable aviation fuel (SAF).”
So-called Sustainable Aviation Fuels (SAF) are aviation fuels that are produced without the use of fossil fuels such as crude oil or natural gas. Currently, SAF is mainly produced from organic residues such as used cooking oil. It is mixed with conventional kerosene, which still has to make up at least half of the mixture.
Advertising message does not convey a clear image
In fact, the airline’s customers were able to book the sustainability option with SAF for an additional charge of 50 percent on the flight ticket. However, the advertising message did not convey a clear picture. According to the VKI, the maximum proportion of SAF in fossil kerosene is currently 5 percent. “It is currently not technically possible to carry out CO2-neutral flights with 100 percent SAF,” explained VKI lawyer Barbara Bauer.
The AUA will take the already legally binding judgment into account in current and future advertising statements, as it said in a statement to the APA. “Austrian Airlines takes note of the ruling of the Korneuburg regional court and welcomes the fact that the efforts to reduce CO2 are positively highlighted. Communication about existing options for more sustainable air travel is necessary to achieve the set CO2 reduction targets. Austrian Airlines always intends to do so to communicate transparently and understandably.”