4/10/2003: Low-Cost Carrier Buzz Sold to Ryanair
History

4/10/2003: Low-Cost Carrier Buzz Sold to Ryanair

Buzz BAe 146-300 (G-UKAG) at STN. Photo: Aero Icarus from Zürich, Switzerland, CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

DALLAS — Today, in 2003, the sale of London Stansted-based (STN) airline Buzz (UK) from owner KLM (KL) to Ryanair (FR) was completed. Three months before, FR announced that it was purchasing the low-cost carrier (LCC) for €23.9m. The final purchase price ended up being €20.1m.

Ryanair boss Michael O’Leary commented that the acquisition went against the airline’s usual policy of avoiding takeovers, preferring to grow organically. However, the opportunity provided O’Leary with an “offer we could not refuse.”

At the time, Buzz operated 21 routes from STN, operating a fleet of British Aerospace (BAe) 146-300s and Boeing 737-300s. FR relaunched the carrier as Buzz Stansted. The 146s were returned to KLM, while the 737s were retained.

However, the Irish LCC chose to close down the wholly-owned subsidiary in September 2004, and Buzz was no more on October 31.

Buzz Boeing 737 pictured at STN. Photo: kitmasterblokeCC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

History


Buzz can trace its history back to 1980, when Air UK, an independent British regional carrier, was formed. Following a takeover by KLM, the airline was rebranded as KLM UK in 1998.

A few years later, KLM UK felt pressure from the emerging LCCs at its STN hub, including FR, easyJet (U2), and Go Fly (GO). In September 1999, it established its own “no-frills” subsidiary.

Buzz took off for the first time on January 4, 2000. Eight 110-seat 146s had been transferred from its parent, along with several routes covering Berlin, Bordeaux (BOD), Düsseldorf (DUS), Frankfurt (FRA), Lyon (LYS), and Paris (CDG). Subsequently, other routes were added.

Wearing the slightly updated livery is aircraft G-BZZE, a Boeing 737. Photo: Konstantin von Wedelstaedt (GFDL 1.2 or GFDL 1.2), via Wikimedia Commons

Resurrecting the Name


In March 2019, Ryanair announced it would resurrect the ‘Buzz’ brand, using the title to rename its Polish Ryanair Sun subsidiary.

Based at Warsaw Modlin Airport (WMI), Ryanair Sun was established in 2017, initially as a charter carrier. However, when FR announced it would close its Polish bases by early 2019, it revealed it would transfer all operations to the subsidiary.

Today, Buzz has a Boeing 737-800s and 737-8200s fleet, ‘operating charter flights to popular holiday destinations and scheduled flights within the Ryanair Group.’

Buzz (Ryanair) Boeing 737-8200 (SP-RZE). Photo: Michael Rodeback/Airways

Featured Image: Buzz BAe 146-300 (G-UKAG) at STN. Photo: Aero Icarus from Zürich, SwitzerlandCC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

European Deputy Editor
Writer and aviation fanatic, Lee is a plant geek and part-time Flight Attendant for a UK-based airline. Based in Liverpool, United Kingdom.

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