UK low-cost airline buzz is to strengthen its position in the French and Spanish markets with the opening of four additional routes as the subsidiary of KLM uk enters its second year of operation.

France is the carrier's primary European destination, with seven routes already served and Poitiers and La Rochelle due to be added in March. A further two destinations in Spain (Murcia and Gerona) will also join the list, bringing the number of European services from its London Stansted base to 19. Outside of that, buzz says it is "entering a period of consolidation" after its first 12 months of operation which saw it carry 1.3 million passengers.

Buzz European sales and marketing manager Matthew Walls says the airline is negotiating with several other French airports for possible services. "We have strong confidence in the French market, but we're also looking at wider expansion into Europe, which is where the main opportunities are."

The airline expects to record a "small loss" this year with profitability "not being reached until our third year of operations", says Walls. The current fleet of eight leased British Aerospace 146s and two Boeing 737-300s inherited from its parent "is right for the moment. We're using the 146s to build up load factors." He adds: "Obviously we intend to grow capacity and homogenise the fleet around larger aircraft, but the time is not yet right for that."

Buzz, which last year looked like a potential victim of a proposed British Airways/KLM merger, has expressed interest in buying its Stansted rival - BA low-cost subsidiary go.

Source: Flight International