Malev quits Heathrow

3 Aug 2006 by business traveller

This winter sees Malev move its London base from Heathrow in favour of Gatwick. The Hungarian national airline already flies twice a day from Gatwick to Budapest and these flights will continue more or less unchanged. What is new is that Malev's existing twice daily flights from Heathrow will cease from November 1 with the slots being sold to British Airways.

Malev's decision to concentrate its energies on Gatwick is a direct result of its joining the Oneworld alliance (of which BA is a main member) in February next year.

"Now we're joining the same alliance it makes it more beneficial to code-share with BA rather than compete directly," said a spokesperson for Malev.

So Malev and BA will code-share with each other's flights and this will lead to less choice from Heathrow as the number of daily flights (now all operated by BA) is cut from five to three.

Not every UK business passenger will find Malev's schedules from Gatwick to be convenient as their timings suggest they're geared to the needs of travellers originating in Hungary.

Flights currently depart Gatwick at 0840 and 1900 reaching Budapest at 1215 and 2235. In the return direction, services leave Budapest at 0600 and 1635 to arrive in Gatwick at 0730 and 1810. Timings for this winter differ only slightly.

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Report by Alex McWhirter

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