RIP Malev and Spanair

By | February 3, 2012

Malev Malev Hungarian Airlines Boeing 737-700Last week, Spanair ceased operations after 25 years. The airline had been looking for a takeover partner to ensure operations, but was unable to do so and the government withdrew the funding support it had been giving the airline.

Today, after 65 years, state-owned Malev Hungarian Airlines ceased operations as the government withdrew financing. The government had renationalized Malev in 2010, after 3 years of private ownership. Flights ceased at 6AM local time, and police are likely still guarding the ticket desk at the airport in Budapest as hundreds of passengers are trying to rebook or get a refund.

The withdrawing of government funding for carriers is an issue in many European countries right now, due to the European debt crisis. The Hungarian government is seeking to aid in setting up a replacement, but only with private equity.

We remember watching passengers queue for Malev flights in Terminal 3 at JFK. Their service to the United States terminated in 2008, after over a decade. It is always sad to see another airline go. Malev was actually supposed to receive deliveries of the Sukhoi Superjet 100, beginning last year, as part of a fleet revitalization. Now, that, like many things, will never happen.