How Petty Can One Airline Be?

by SharonKurheg

Pettiness can come in all shapes and sizes. It can be revenge on a fellow guest at a resort who’s been particularly annoying. An airport’s new blurb that’s directed as a neighboring airport for giving them trouble. Or a 1K miler’s treatment of a “karen” on their plane.

The word “petty” doesn’t have to include revenge, though. It’s just being unnecessarily unkind about a matter that everyone else would consider to be small and not worth worrying about.

Enter easyJet and their pettiness against an airline that was, essentially, no competition to them whatsoever.

an airplane flying in the skyeasyJet is part of easyGroup, which is a multinational venture capital conglomerate founded in 1998 and privately owned by Sir Stelios Haji-Ioannou. Headquartered at London Luton Airport, the low-cost airline operates domestic and international scheduled services on 927 routes and serves 183 destinations in more than 34 countries via its affiliate airlines EasyJet UK, EasyJet Switzerland, and EasyJet Europe. (thanks, Wikipedia!)

easyJet is not so easy to communicate with if you have a problem or question. But they appear to be doing things right, at least for themselves. They’ve continually expanded via acquisitions. They’re the second-largest budget airline in Europe and, save for the 3 most active years of Covid, they’ve made a profit every year since at least 2009. So they’re not hurting.

And then you have EZAir.

a plane on the runwayFounded in 2000, the small, regional service airline operates a fleet of 5 planes (two Learjet medivac aircraft and and three Saab 340s) and operates five daily flights between Aruba, Bonaire, Curaçao, Barranquilla and Medellín – all places that easyJet doesn’t service.

You know where I’m going with this, right?

In October 2023, EasyGroup Ltd, the owners of easyJet made EZAir change their name, claiming infringement on the group’s intellectual property rights.

EZAir felt that had no choice but to comply, even if they didn’t agree with the request.

“Obviously we do not agree with the position of easyGroup,” said René Winkel, EZAir’s CEO. “However, we are a relatively small regional carrier and we cannot afford to take years of legal action with a very wealthy group, while the outcome of that struggle is uncertain.

“The easyGroup is a very wealthy group with a huge capacity and for that we as a local player are simply not a party.”

What a bunch of petty bullies!

Anyway, EZAir changed their name to ZAir, which isn’t nearly cool of a name, but let them make just a small change to their logo.

a blue airplane flying over a white backgroundAnd this isn’t even the first time easyGroup has taken legal action against airlines using names with similar spelling or pronunciation. After an almost five-year legal dispute with EasyFly, the Colombian-based airline announced in July 2023 that it was changing its name to Clic.

Our take on this

Y’all, I get it. Companies are VERY careful with their copyrights. They don’t want potential customers to be confused and, let’s face it, they don’t want to lose any money. But for a huge conglomerate to sue a tiny, 5-plane airline, that doesn’t serve any of the same airports or even the same countries? Well, I don’t know about you, but I think that’s just beyond petty.

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This post first appeared on Your Mileage May Vary

1 comment

jbelkin March 14, 2024 - 7:37 pm

Not sure of UK/EU copyright laws but in the US, if you do not sue at. the drop of a hat, as each example accumulates, they can make a case that you were not active in pursuing them so … it;s like opening a S. WARS CLEANERS or STARS WARS LANDSCAPING. We think it’s stupid but to the COURTS definition, by not taking up a lawsuit, it’s another step in saying you are not actively monitoring your and a judge MIGHT rile that way so you are better to sue … that is why someone owns still owns PAN AM and if you try and open a PAN AM CLEANERS … :-/


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