After 66 years of service, at 06:00 Budapest time, the Hungarian national airline suspended it’s operations.
The flight from Tel Aviv was stopped before departure, as the Tel Aviv airport operator handed in a bill to the airline that it was not able to pay. Over 4000 passengers were booked on MALÉV flights departuring Budapest Liszt Ferenc Airport.
Yesterday the future of the airline looked a bit brighter, as it filed for bankruptcy protection the management and government announced plans to keep MALÉV in the air for a couple of more months, until a new national airline with a different structure could be launched into the skies with private capital. Today prime minister Viktor Orbán said in a radio interview with the public broadcaster that he was looking for private investors who could maybe save the airline, emphasizing that no public money could be spent on saving the airline. Private investors would have to be prepared to also risk their own money and try to manage the airline to be profitable, or at lease not be in a deficit. The ruling Fidesz party blames long mismanagement and a bad deals made regarding privatization in 2007, then re-nationalization in 2010 by the then ruling MSZP party.
The national airline was not able to live up to it’s financial obligations following a recent decision by the European Commission, it was required to repay government loans ruled as contravening state aid regulations. In addition Limburger Lóránt, CEO of MALÉV said that it’s service providers required payment in advance, which speeded up the use of the money the airline had.