Pollution-free travel with Air France !

Or the new SAFwashing and treewashing

If you buy a ticket, Air France offers to reduce your emissions by 100%! Unbelievable! Can we fly without polluting right now ?
Obviously not, this is a misleading commercial practice that we denounce.

Air France says it wants to commit to the ecological transition of the aviation sector, which is a good thing in itself, because the challenges are great, and must involve us all. But this greenwashing is not acceptable!

While we welcome the aeronautics industry’s research to reduce its environmental footprint, we denounce commercial practices aimed at misleading the public. Recent legal victories attest to the seriousness of our warnings (Easyjet, Austrian Airline, KLM). Today, technical and technological advances are far from sufficient to allow a sustainable reduction of greenhouse gas emissions from aviation.

Hence our surprise when Air France proposes to eliminate emissions from flights!

The environment as an option

Indeed, once you have purchased your ticket, Air France offers the « Environment » option and refers you to several choices :

  • a reforestation proposal to « plant enough trees to absorb as much CO2 as your flight emits » for 3 cents per kilo of CO2,
  • a proposal with a « contribution to the development of sustainable aviation fuel » (called SAF) at a cost of 72 cents per kilo of CO2,
  • And finally, proposals coupling reforestation and development of alternative fuels.

At the end of the selection, each proposal is accompanied by an infographic with, on the one hand, the CO2 emissions induced by the flight according to Air France and, on the other hand, « the CO2 absorbed by reforestation » and « the CO2 saved with SAF ». This tends to make you think that you could fly without emitting CO2, which is false !

Screenshot of the Air France application
The option that hides the forest

Air France’s Environment option misleads travelers on several levels because :

  • The compensation is presented as a net absorption of the flight’s CO2 emissions which is again inaccurate because it depends on many factors that are not indicated in the application.
    Also, considering the very low price (less than 4% of the price of the trip), one could think that offsetting is something simple, cheap and effective, whereas it is quite the opposite and scientists call for it to be used only as a last resort for emissions that could not be reduced. However, some comfort flights can and should be avoided. You can contribute to forest protection or reforestation, but in no case you can link this contribution to the emissions induced by the flight.
  • Alternative aviation fuels (SAF), as Air France writes in its « Learn more » section, currently represent less than 1% of aviation consumption because they are not produced in sufficient quantities. Air France proposes to contribute to their development, which is commendable, but also presents this as a net reduction in flight emissions, which is also false !
    The company indicates that the use of SAF can reduce between 75 and 80% of CO2 emissions of a flight if they are used without conventional kerosene, so it cannot be 100% reduction as indicated on their infographic.
    Finally, they are very little used today because they are not produced enough and, even if they were available, they could only be used at 50% of tank capacity because engines are not certified for a higher rate yet.
  • The Environment option makes uninformed passengers believe that a flight only emits CO2, but this is not true, and Air France is well aware of this.
    Moreover, at the current stage of research, the non-CO2 effects are far from negligible, as they are at least equivalent to the CO2 effects on global warming.

It is therefore impossible to present the development of SAF as a 100% net reduction of emissions from its flight, and even less so by proposing to contribute to their development.

Currently, the 1% SAF + 99% conventional kerosene mix allows you to reduce the impact of your flight on the climate by a maximum of 0.4%.
We are therefore far from 100%…

We therefore ask Air France to review its discourse and to be honest with its passengers, because yes, airplanes pollute, and the only effective lever today to reduce their impact is to limit their use.
It costs us to write this, but it is a reality: we need to take the plane less.

Whether you are a footballer or a fan, a CEO or an employee, a pensioner or a student, we don’t wear the same shirt but we have the same planet!

Join us in signing the petition initiated by employees of the aviation sector to obtain from Air France an honest speech on the climate impact of aviation!


Our door is of course open if the company wishes to work with us on these options and the modalities of its diffusion before we take it to court.

Translated with the support of DeepL

Collective PAD

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