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Report: Hungary eyes new national carrier, supported by Russian Sukhoi

Hungary’s National Development Ministry (NFM) has been in negotiations with Russian aircraft manufacturer Sukhoi to launch a new national carrier made up of six aircraft, state-owned news service hirado.hu reported today.

The Sukhoi Superjet 100 prototype on its maiden flight on May 19, 2008. The aircraft features a prominent nose pressure probe used for flight testing. (Photo: Wikimedia Commons/Marina Lystseva)

The Russian company would provide Hungary with six new Sukhoi Superjet 100 aircraft, as well as financial support, to launch a new national carrier, according to the report by hirado.hu. Hungary has been without a national carrier since Malév was grounded in 2012.  

The parties began negotiations in October, and according to their estimates, Hungary’s GDP could be boosted by an additional €110 million a year if a national carrier was launched, hirado.hu reported.

Evgeny Andrachnikov, the deputy CEO of Sukhoi’s civilian aircraft production, told hirado.hu that a Hungarian national carrier would provide a great opportunity for Sukhoiʼs Superjet 100 aircraft to show its worth. He added that the two countries would be reliable partners, bearing the successes as well as the risks of launching a national carrier, hirado.hu reported.

State secretary László Tasó said that Hungary supports any project that is in the interest of Hungary and its citizens.

Hungary’s former national carrier Malév was grounded on February 4, 2012, after operating for 66 years. Hungarian low-fare airline Wizz Air, which was founded in 2003, has been continuously expanding and has, according to Wizz Air CEO József Váradi, become the “de-facto national carrier” of Hungary.

The Sukhoi Superjet 100, which was first developed in 2000, is a modern fly-by-wire twin-engine regional jet with eight to 108 passenger seats. The airliner was designed and spearheaded by Sukhoi, in co-operation with several foreign partners, according to reports. Its maiden flight was conducted on May 19, 2008, and its first passenger flight on April 21, 2011, from Yerevan to Moscow.

The ministry sent a statement to Hungarian news agency MTI this afternoon, stressing that talks are only at a preliminary phase and arriving to conclusions would be too early. "The ministry is willing to examine opportunities for cooperation, but nothing definite has been discussed yet and the parties agreed that Sukhoi would present a more detailed offer first", MTI reported.