Air booking

A so-called air booking is a booking process within the framework of corporate accounting, which in reality is not based on an actual business transaction.

Definition / explanation

The air booking is one of the accounting offenses that are punishable by law. The process, known colloquially as air booking, is essentially a deliberate booking error on the part of a responsible actor, which can be assigned to the accounting offenses and which is, among other things, punishable under Section 331 of the German Commercial Code (HGB).

In most cases, the intended aim of the air booking is to drive up the sales of a company, mostly with fraudulent intent, with the help of fictitious business transactions in order to be able to take advantage of cheaper corporate loans by inflating the balance sheet, among other things to deliberately deceive investors into an investment.

Often, air bookings with the help of a large number of accounts also serve to disguise the origin of money flows and thus to carry out money laundering in plain English. Overall, however, the air booking must be distinguished from the so-called sham business, in which several parties involved fake the conclusion of a contract.


  • Air bookings are punishable according to §331 HGB
  • Booking processes without a real business transaction
  • is used in the case of balance sheet falsification
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