Could Malév Return to the Skies?

Transport

The Budapest Business Journal can reveal an as yet low-key effort to bring back the Malév Hungarian Airlines brand.

Looking to double-check the date when Malév collapsed, we noticed a Wikipedia link to an official website, unusual for a business declared bankrupt in February 2012. That led us to what appears to be a holding page (see photo) and another link for inquiries.

Through that, we contacted Mikhail Biryukov, who describes himself as “responsible for general questions regarding the restoration of Malev [sic] activities.” He confirmed that the project has been ongoing since June 2022 and said the site will start working on September 5, 2023.

The initial plan seems to be to organize the sale of air tickets and “tours that will popularize holidays in Hungary” through the website, but that appears to be only a starting point.

“In 2024, if everything goes well and our investors support us, we will begin the procedure for obtaining a license to operate regular flights,” Biryukov told the BBJ.

He describes a team of 12 people, some of whom previously worked at Malév. “At the moment, our team is dealing with legal issues related to the revival of the Malev brand and the resumption of the activities of a new legal entity. [….] At the moment, I cannot tell you more information due to the preparation of the project for launch and the resolution of legal issues.

He also welcomed the opinion of our readers on the project. Let us know your thoughts, and we will pass them on.

Malév Zrt. was the national flag carrier for Hungary from 1946 until it went out of business on February 14, 2012. Since then, low-cost carrier Wizz Air, founded in 2003, has been the only Hungarian airline. There was an attempt to launch a private company called Sólyom Hungarian Airways in 2013. However, although a liveried aircraft was delivered with some ceremony to Budapest that year, the airline’s short story involved bankruptcy, sale, and suicide, and it never became operational.

This article was first published in the Budapest Business Journal print issue of July 28, 2023.

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