Max Kingsley-Jones/LONDON

KLM uk has reacted to growing infiltration into its London Stansted market by low fare airlines with the creation of its own "no-frills" division, "buzz".

The new brand will be launched early next year, providing the UK-based division of KLM with the tools to attack head-on local low-cost rivals Ryanair, British Airways division Go, and easyJet based at nearby Luton Airport. The initial network will encompass seven destinations, including five routes transferred from KLM uk - Berlin, Düsseldorf, Frankfurt, Milan and Paris - and two new destinations - Lyons and Vienna. More services will follow, says the airline.

Buzz will be crewed by KLM uk staff and will launch with eight 110-seat BAe 146-300s transferred from its parent and repainted with its new sunflower yellow, purple and lime green colours. Larger aircraft, such as Boeing 737s or Airbus A320s, are expected to be integrated into the buzz fleet later.

The division will follow the established low-cost airlines' "direct-sell" formula where commission is not paid to agencies, and it says that customer targets include both "business and leisure travellers flying to the primary airports". KLM uk says it was prompted to move into the low-cost market because of expected massive growth.

KLM uk chief executive Floris van Pallandt, says that analysts predict a threefold increase in low cost passenger numbers, to 15 million, over the next five years.

The move had been expected since the restructuring of KLM uk's mainline operations in August (Flight International, 18-24 August), when the carrier trimmed its route network to focus on its prime role as a KLM feeder into its Amsterdam hub.

Source: Flight International