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MALÉV - Hungarian Airlines

Location: Airlines / MALÉV - Hungarian Airlines information


MALÉV - Hungarian Airlines - airline information




General information


MALÉV - Hungarian Airlines

MALÉV, Hungary's previous national air carrier is the leader in Central Europe, with some of the most modern fleets in the World, consisting of about two dozen aircraft, mainly Boeing 737s.

The name MALÉV is an abbreviation from "Magyar Légközlekedési Vonalak", meaning "Hungarian Air Transportation Lines".

MALÉV is not a flag carrier anymore (at least by defintion it isn't), since it was privatised in 2007. It has changed hands several times since then.

The airline serves primarily regional destinations, its airplanes fly to countries located in Central Europe and Eastern Europe, few intercontinental destinations, which are mostly in the Middle East. Charters are operated rarely to faraway destinations. Some MALÉV jets fly to the Maldives and other exotic destinations.

Long-haul flights to Bangkok, New York, Toronto, Beijing and Shanghai were gradually eliminated starting with 2008, then in 2009. The new strategy of the Hungarian Airline is to become an even more important regional player. It is already one of the most important airlines in Central Europe, but is far less powerful in front of Austrian Airlines.

A major order of 30 modern Sukhoi 100 Superjet airplanes was placed on June 15th, 2009. The first planes will enter the MALÉV fleet in 2011. This order, if completed, will more than double the size of the air fleet.


Fact sheet


 General company information...

Official name: 

Magyar Légközlekedési Vállalat - MALÉV


"Wings to Fly"

IATA designator:


ICAO designator:



Budapest, Hungary


One World Alliance



Ferihegy International Airport - Budapest, Hungary

Focus cities, regions,

secondary hubs:


Number of destinations:


 Fleet & flights-related...

Fleet size:

28 (+19 orders)

Aircraft types used:

Boeing 737

Bombardier Dash 8 Q400, Bombardier CRJ-200

Accidents & incidents:

Total: 4 - Fatal cases: 1


Number of passengers:



Economy / Business

Frequent flyer program:

Duna Club

Other important issues:

- MALÉV has one of the most modern fleets in the World

- MALÉV - Hungarian Airlines was bought in 2007 by Russian billionaire, Roman Abramovich, following its privatization, but then re-sold

- MALÉV will be one of the first airlines to introduce the modern Sukhoi Superjet 100




The airline operates primarily within Europe. Flies to almost any important major European city, touching almost every capital city. MALÉV focuses especially on Central, Eastern and Western European flights. Before, MALÉV used to fly to: Bangkok, New York, Toronto, Beijing, Shanghai. But since the privatization the long haul flights were dropped from the schedule.

MALÉV operates up to 60 flights a day from its only base and hub, Ferihegy International Airport, Hungary, a place where over 9 million passengers get pass the gates every year.


The company is extending its destinations throughout 2007 and possibly in the next years as well, reaching out to major Eastern European destinations, such as Yekaterinburg (Ekateringburg), Russia.

MALÉV flies charter trips to important vacation destinations, especially during the summer. The Maldives Islands, for instance were among them several years ago.


All long haul flights were stopped and in 2009 MALÉV was already reduced to a European and Mediterranean region airline.

In the past there were flights to Toronto, New York, Shanghai, Bangkok and charters to Tokyo.

Starting with 2009, the Hungarian Airlines company is taking measures to reduce flights to less frequented destinations, focusing on regional flights and those to major European hubs (London, Frankfurt, Paris, etc.).




MALÉV has one of the most modern fleets in the World. In 2006, the average age of their aircraft was of 4,6 years.

The Hungarian carrier operates mainly Boeing 737, and Bombardier Q400 (propeller-driven aircraft) for short-haul flights to nearby countries. Fokker 70 airplanes were taken out of function during 2009.


Gradually, the older long-range airplanes, constituted by Tupolev Tu-154 were changed for Boeing 767s. The last Tu-154 retired in 2001.

3 new long range Boeing 767-300s have been ordered in 2007, the company planned to replace the old 767s with newer models, but the deal was given up.


Canadair Jet CRJ-200 were also present in the MALÉV fleet in the early 2000s, but were sold and in 2009 they were pulled out completely.


New Russian Sukhoi Superjet 100 airplanes were ordered on June 15th, 2009. 15 planes will enter the MALÉV fleet starting in 2011. There are further options for 15.

MALÉV will be among the first carriers to introduce this modern airplane.

Sukhoi claims that the Superjet 100 has 10-15 % lower operational costs than the Embraer ERJ and Bombardier rival models.

The technical records of the Hungarian airline are excellent.

The company has a very good safety reputation with very few incidents.


Frequent flyer program


MALÉV's frequent flyer is called Duna Club.

Due to the fact that the airline is part of the One World Alliance, you have the possibility to continue using your card, due to the fact that this service is harmonized between the members.


Activity & market position


MALÉV - Hungarian Airlines was a fully state-owned company, in 1999, only 0,5 % of the shares were owned by small shareholders, while 99,5 % were in the hands of the state. The company was privatized in 2007. It was bought by Russian billionaire, Roman Abramovich, who also owns the English soccer team Chelsea. Abramovich has proceeded to sell his shares after during his activity has brought the company more insuccess and debt.


Considering its current status, Hungarian Airlines is no longer a flag carrier, even though, it still has the appearance of the old company.

Unfortunately since its privatization, MALÉV has plummeted ending up in debt, weaker market position with smaller passenger numbers and fewer destinations.

In 2009, Roman Abramovich his MALÉV shares up, 51 % of the company is again owned primarily by Hungarians.

In the second half of 2009 MALÉV has taken measures to reduce losses. This meant reducing the fleet size from 26 aircraft to 20 only, eliminating less productive routes, focusing primarily on regional flights.

MALÉV will try to become a stronger regional carrier role and will operate less flights to faraway destinations, such as those in the Middle East.

It will face intense competition from many airline in the region, including the Hungarian WIZZ Air low cost rival.


Partnerships & alliances


MALÉV - Hungarian Airlines has conducted negotiations with the Sky Team Alliance, but in 2005 and agreement was signed with another strategic alliance, One World.

At the beginning of 2007, MALÉV  has become a full member of the One World Alliance, along with the other newcomers, JAL - Japan Airlines, LAN Ecuador, LAN Argentina, Royal Jordanian, Dragonair.

MALÉV contributes to the One World Alliance with several unique destinations, where none of the other members fly.

This way, MALÉV's services (such as the frequent flyer program, flight booking, etc.) will be harmonized with those of its partners from the alliance.


Code-share agreements:


Hungarian Airlines has important agreements regarding code-sharing with major airlines like NorthWest Airlines and American Airlines.


Airlines which with MALÉV has code-share agreements:




Air France


American Airlines

British Airways

Bulgaria Air



Hainan Airlines

JAL - Japan Airlines

KLM - Royal Dutch Airlines



Royal Jordanian Airlines

NorthWest Airlines   


Current activity and perspectives for the future


Fleet growth and strategic partnerships  


The company is planning to sell its 4 Canadair Jet CRJ-200 airplanes. Possibly new short range aircraft will be acquired, because MALÉV is putting more and more accent on the destinations within 2.000 kms from Hungary. The airline wouldn't be able to serve all airports it has already started operating on if it doesn't replace the CRJ-200s.


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 Last modified/updated: June 17, 2009


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