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Ryanair Sun was rebranded as Buzz in autumn 2019. (Photo: Ryanair)

Wizz Air Takes Legal Action Against Ryanair Over Buzz Brand

Europe’s two low-cost giants Ryanair and Wizz Air are in an open conflict over Buzz, a subsidiary of the Ryanair Group, as announced by Ryanair in a statement on Friday. Wizz Air previously filed a lawsuit against Ryanair to block its rival low-cost carrier from using the Buzz brand. The Hungarian LCC alleges that the “Buzz” brand is very similar to its own name “Wizz” Air.

Ryanair, Europe’s largest airline group, said that it would appeal against a Hungarian court’s interim injunction blocking Buzz, a subsidiary of the Ryanair Group, from using its Buzz brand in Hungary. The decision to suspend Buzz’s operations in the Hungarian market has been taken at the request of rival carrier Wizz Air.

“Due to Buzz’s unbeatable combination of lower fares and industry-leading service, it is on track to become Poland’s number one airline. It’s clear that Wizz Air is terrified of Buzz’s lower fare competition, which is why they are trying to block Buzz using its Buzz brand in Hungary where Wizz are cutting aircraft and capacity in Budapest. They should stop wasting time with lawyers and start focusing their energy on reducing their costs to rival lower cost Buzz,” Ryanair’s Chief Executive Michael O’Leary said in a press release.

“We look forward to overturning this silly injunction on appeal, and we will continue to focus on Buzz’s expansion in Hungary, as the lowest fare, industry-leading service winner across Central and Eastern Europe, even while Wizz are cutting aircraft and capacity in Budapest. Those that can, compete, and those that can’t – like Wizz- run to Court seeking injunctions to protect them,” continued O’Leary.

The Ireland-based company alleges that the “Buzz” brand has been in the portfolio of Ryanair Group for 17 years. According to the chief of Ryanair, the company will wait for a positive court decision and will continue to expand its presence in Hungary.

Ryanair Acquired the Buzz Brand from KLM

Buzz was previously a British low-cost airline operating flights within Europe from 2000 until 2003 as a subsidiary of the Netherlands-based KLM. The airline was acquired by Ryanair in April 2003 and continued flight operations until Ryanair decided to cease its flight operations in September 2004.

In March 2019, it was announced that the Polish subsidiary of the Irish low-cost airline Ryanair Sun would be re-branded as Buzz.

It was reported that Ryanair aimed at reducing operating costs with rebranding. According to Ryanair’s plans, Buzz would lease aircraft and crew from the parent company.

Ryanair’s Hungarian base was handed over to Buzz at the beginning of December last year. The reason for the change is that Buzz operates at a lower cost level than the Irish parent company.

Buzz is a Polish airline operating charter flights from its bases in Poland, Czech Republic and Bulgaria to popular holiday destinations and scheduled flights within the Ryanair Group. It is one of four airlines of the Ryanair Holdings Group, alongside Ryanair DAC, Laudamotion and Ryanair U.K.

Buzz, a standalone business unit of the Ryanair Group, obtained its Polish AOC certificate at the beginning of 2018 as Ryanair Sun and started flight operations in summer 2018 with a fleet of 5 aircraft. As of July 2020, Buzz’s fleet is composed of 47 Boeing 737-800NG aircraft.

The Poland-based airline will also acquire 3 Boeing 737 MAX 8-200s, registered SP-RZA, SP-RZB and SP-RZC. The aircraft are currently pending delivery in Buzz livery at the Boeing Renton Factory.

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