State-owned Hungarian airline Malév signed an agreement with American Airlines on code-sharing and frequent-flyer programs in Budapest on Tuesday.
The agreement was signed by Malév CEO János Gönci and American Airlines' regional director for sales and marketing Maria Sebastian. Gönci said the agreement was one of the last steps in joining the oneworld alliance of airlines. On the airlines' summer timetables, which start at the end of March, 24 Malév flights will share a code with American Airlines, and 30 American Airlines' flights will share a code with Malév. The two airlines' frequent-flyer programmers will be harmonized with immediate effect. The agreement could boost profits of Malév's New York-Budapest flight alone by Ft 1 billion, Gönci said.
As a result of the agreement, Malév passengers will be able to fly not only to New York and Toronto, but to many more destinations in North America on connecting flights leaving from six European cities using a single ticket. Itineraries will become simpler and tickets cheaper. „We are proud to sign an agreement with one of Europe's biggest airlines,” said Sebastian. Deputy Chief of Mission at the US embassy in Budapest Philip T. Reeker said at the signing that more Americans are visiting Hungary. He also noted that 85% of Hungarians who apply for visas to visit the US are awarded them. Deputy-undersecretary at the Ministry of Economics and Transportation Miklós Merényi said the agreement would boost Malév's value. The airline is in the midst of privatization. American Airlines flies to 250 destinations in 40 countries around the world. In December alone, it carried more than 8 million passengers. (Mti-Eco)