Ryanair plans to attack Wizz Air in Budapest with its Polish subsidiary. The latter is defending itself with a restraining order.
It’s an aggressive move. Last autumn, Ryanair announced that it would close its base in Budapest and let its Polish subsidiary take off from there. With its «lower cost base», Buzz is supposed to attack the overpowering local heroine Wizz Air in the Hungarian capital.
But the Hungarian low-cost airline doesn’t want to let that happen without a fight. At the request of Wizz Air, a Hungarian court has issued a temporary order against the Ryanair subsidiary, according to local media. According to the injunction, Buzz is not allowed to take off in Hungary under its name.
«Terrible fear of Buzz»
The reason for the injunction against Buzz is the similarity with the name Wizz Air. Ryanair defends itself in a press release. The name Buzz has been in its own possession for 17 years, it says.
In 2003 Ryanair took over a low-cost airline of the same name from KLM. Only one year later, the former Buzz was closed down, but the brand rights were retained. «It is clear that Wizz Air is terribly afraid of Buzz’s lower fares,» says Ryanair CEO Michael O’Leary.
Ryanair wants to appeal
Wizz Air and Ryanair are already competing hard in Poland. According to O’Leary, Wizz Air wants to use the injunction to stop Ryanair from growing stronger in Hungary and Eastern and Central Europe. With bases in Prague and Sofia, Ryanair has already sent Buzz into the race elsewhere.
«We are looking forward to having this silly injunction lifted on appeal,» says the Ryanair CEO, and continues: «You should stop wasting time with lawyers and start concentrating your energy on reducing your costs.»