Protests across Europe demand ban on airline advertising

by | 22 Apr 2024 | Press Release

PRESS CONTACT: Hannah Lawrence, , (+43) 0670 550 09 34

  • A week of protest across Europe is taking aim at airline advertising and sponsorships over their role in increasing demand for flying.
  • New statistics for 6 major airlines show that every €1 spent on advertising or sponsorship leads to emissions of between 35-60 kg CO2e.   
  • Actions are taking place in over 30 European cities across France, Portugal, UK, Germany, Belgium, Netherlands, and Switzerland. 
  • Activists supporting groups such as Stay Grounded and Badvertising are calling for a ban on airline advertising to protect the climate. 

Monday 22nd – Protests are taking place in over 30 European cities to demand a ban on airline advertising.

The week of protest comes as new research shows every €1 spent on advertising and sponsorship by Air France, British Airways, KLM, Lufthansa, RyanAir and Qantas leads to an associated increase in greenhouse gas emissions of between 35-60 kg CO2e.

The activists from groups including XR Geneva, XR Netherlands and Brandalism, took over approximately 500 advertising sites with creative posters calling out aviation greenwashing in Paris, London, Geneva, Bristol, and 30 other European cities.

Permanecer en la Tierra together with UNAM in Mexico joined to protest the international airport, Felipe Angeles, in Santa Lucia, near Mexico City which threatens local communities and plunders local water supply.

Hannah Lawrence from Stay Grounded said: 

“The aviation industry uses adverts to try to deceive us into thinking flying can be green when, in fact, the only green plane is one that stays grounded. While their greenwashing adverts delay meaningful climate action, those who have never even set foot on a plane bear the biggest burden from climate breakdown.  We need an urgent ban on airline advertising and measures to fairly reduce the number of flights that take off.“

Robbie Gillett from Badvertising said:

“We are stuck in a dangerous logic that airports ‘must expand to meet a growth in demand’ but that growth is being driven, in part, by advertising encouraging us to fly. Stating that ‘people are always going to fly’ is like saying ‘people are always going to smoke cigarettes’. We have intervened in the past to stop advertising for tobacco in order to reduce demand. So too should we remove the constant calls to buy more flights.”

The campaign against fossil advertising is already seeing gains. In March 2024, Sheffield City Council announced that airline and airport advertising will not be permitted on council owned billboards. The Eye Filmmuseum in Amsterdam decided this year not to renew its sponsorship contract with Dutch airline KLM owing to sustainability concerns.

The actions come as airlines face increasing legal and regulatory action over their greenwashing claims. In April, a court prohibited German airline Eurowings from advertising flights as CO2 neutral. In March, a court ruled that Dutch airline KLM had misled customers over its green claims and portrayal of so-called “Sustainable” Aviation Fuels. The UK Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has recently banned adverts from Lufthansa, Air France-KLM and Etihad Airways over misleading environmental claims.  In June 2023, consumer advocacy group BEUC lodged a complaint with the European Commission against 17 airlines over their sustainability claims.

Flying is the most climate-harming mode of transport. It is also the most unequal mode of transport with only 1% of the world’s population being responsible for half of all aviation emissions.  


High-res photos of the actions available here.

Report on the climate footprint of airline sponsorship deals and advertising here.

Stats on the emissions of airline sponsorships available here.

The International Week of Action Against Airline Advertising, Sponsorship and Greenwash runs from 15 – 22 April 2024. It is coordinated by Stay Grounded and Badvertising.

Stay Grounded is a network for 215 member initiatives around the world, including community groups surrounding airports, NGOs, and trade unions. The network campaigns for a fair reduction of aviation and for a just mobility system that works for all, now and in the future.

Badvertising is a project by The New Weather Institute, Adfree Cities and climate charity Possible. Badvertising aims to stop advertising fueling the climate emergency by implementing a tobacco-style ban on ads for cars, airlines and fossil fuel companies.