The AiRUnion alliance of Russian airlines plans to launch charters from four airports in Russia in summer, doubling the current 10% rate of passenger growth as soon as the end of the year, AirBridge, a Hungarian company AirUnion set up to buy Hungarian airline Malév, announced on Tuesday.AiRUnion airlines carried 24 million passengers in 2005, with 160,000 of them traveling to Hungary. AiRUnion would offer the charters from Moscow, Samara, Krasnoyarsk and Omsk. It would also consider flying to Fly Balaton Airport, near Lake Balaton, as well as Budapest's Ferihegy Aiport. AirBridge said AiRUnion still has plans to purchase Malév.
AirBridge was the frontrunner in an earlier bid for the airline, which the State Privatisation and Holding Company (ÁPV) decided to cancel in August 2005. ÁPV said it cancelled the tender without declaring a winner because of "business, professional and employment considerations", and the government repeatedly denied afterward that the sale was scrapped because it could have placed Hungary's national carrier with a Russian-controlled company.