Malev quits long-haul

31 Jul 2008 by Mark Caswell

Hungarian airline Malev is set to drop all long-haul services from Budapest in favour of flying closer to home. 

The move, related to oil prices, has already led to the dropping of Bangkok and will see both New York and Toronto (its sole remaining long-distance destinations) scrapped in the coming months.

The carrier will instead concentrate on expanding its network within Europe and especially Eastern Europe. In a statement Malev blames “the rising cost of oil and the general world economic slowdown” for the moves.

The carrier’s remaining two B767s (which operate Malev’s long-distance routes) will be withdrawn from service as they are now uneconomic to operate.

Notes Malev, “Due to rising kerosene prices, the operational cost of flying Budapest-New York-Budapest with a B767 is US$49,000 more than a year ago. This major hike in expenditure makes it completely unviable for an airline the size of Malev to operate long-haul services economically.”

Malev’s last flight between Budapest and Toronto will depart on September 21 with the final service to New York leaving Budapest on October 25.

Commenting on the move Doros Theodorou, Malev's UK country manager said:

"This step has been taken as we look to the future of focusing on where our strengths are, and that is our European network, primarily connecting West to East Europe and vice versa. This will not stop us from offering our customers a global network which we can do through our Oneworld partner airlines."

Malev is the sole carrier flying non-stop between Budapest and Toronto but there are plenty of indirect links via Frankfurt, London Heathrow, Paris CDG and so on. An alternative non-stop carrier for Budapest-New York would be US airline Delta.

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Report by Alex McWhirter

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