I am designing a system and I need to name a field that distiguishes between an instution's parties.

An institution can act on one or many market with multiple entities and brands (e.g. Ryanair / Lauda motion). One entity can operate multiple markets. I need to identify between each combination, e.g.:

  • Ryanair in UK
  • Ryanair in IE
  • Lauda in AT

What word would you use? Is branch appropriate? I worry that the branch is tight with the single entity (aka Tesco). I feel that brand is not good either because it does not work well when I have multiple countries.

  • Often, the qualifier "sister" is used for instances like this. While I'm not personally familiar with the corporate entities behind Ryanair in particular, airlines often have "sister companies" or "sister airlines" that operate under the same overarching umbrella but are separate in each market.
    – kaipmdh
    Mar 11, 2020 at 9:55
  • Hi, I used Ryanair as an example of well known entity. Mar 11, 2020 at 14:24

1 Answer 1


This is quite a tricky question, since a perfect answer relies on 'insider knowledge' of 'industry jargon' rather than just an understanding of everyday English.

As @kaipmdh says, these are sometimes called "Sister companies" (if they are separate legal entities) though "Partner Airlines" is the phrase I have come across most often.

As you say, "branches" mostly commonly refers to the separate physical locations of a shop or a bank, and doesn't work well in this case. While many industries use the word "Brand" to refer to various sub-divisions owned by the same group, I'm not aware of airlines using this terminology externally, but they may well do so internally.

"Division" is probably the most universal term, since it can refer to something as small as a few people within a company, or an entire autonomous company within a multi-national group.

  • Hi, the product is for financial institutions. I used Ryanair as an example. Mar 11, 2020 at 14:26
  • Thank you for the confirmation that the branch does not fit. So is the brand the best option for financial institutions? I do not like "sister" because the mother company is one of the potential values. Mar 11, 2020 at 14:27
  • What about something like "subsidiary"? For a financial institution that holds multiple "brands", RBS has them as subsidiaries: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Royal_Bank_of_Scotland
    – kaipmdh
    Mar 11, 2020 at 15:11
  • 1
    @kaipmdh Sorry, but "subsidiary" doesn't fit well either, if the parent company (as stated) is one of the options. Personally, I would choose "division" over "brand" but in a case like this the client may have other ideas, and however 'unusual' they might be, that will always be your best option.
    – MikeB
    Mar 11, 2020 at 17:22

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