B-M to push Wizz Air across the EU

Wizz Air, the low-cost Eastern European airline, has appointed Burson-Marsteller (B-M) to spearhead its international PR launch.

B-M has been hired to build awareness, particularly in the business press, in the UK and Western Europe. It will also concentrate its efforts on Eastern European consumers, many of whom have never flown before.

The brief also involves an element of lobbying activity in Brussels as the firm bids to establish goodwill among EU politicians.

The company will operate nine 180-seat Airbus A320 aircraft from launch. It is scheduled to start flights out of Katowice in Poland and Budapest in Hungary soon after ten Eastern European states enter the EU on 1 May, as it attempts to take advantage of 70 million people joining the Union.

Wizz Air is in negotiations over its UK base and is understood to be close to an agreement to operate flights to London Luton Airport and Paris. It will fly to Brussels Charleroi Airport from launch. The airline is led by Jozsef Varadi, former chief executive of Hungarian airline Malev. Its livery and branding has been devised by consultancy FutureBrand.

A potential stumbling block for Wizz Air could be the fact that the internet – the major channel for booking flights on low-cost airlines – has low penetration across Eastern Europe.

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