Hungary’s heavily debt-ridden national airline Malev has had to ground flights and stop operations just days after Spanish state-owned Spanair filed for bankruptcy in light of the European debt crisis.
Hungarian state-owned airline Malev has gone out of business. Flights were grounded, leaving over 7,000 passengers stranded and operations were shut down on Friday due to its "unsustainable" financial situation.
"At 0500 GMT on February 3, after 66 years of almost continuous operation, Malev stopped taking off," chief executive Lorant Limburger said at a news conference.
The airline has debts of around 200 million euros ($270 million) and has had difficulties finding new investors. Last month, the European Commission ordered Malev to repay state aid received between 2007 and 2010. The decision prevented
Prime Minister Viktor Orban told state radio after Friday's announcement, that a new national airline could be established if investors were prepared to operate it profitably and risk their own money.
Malev's is not the only plight in European aviation in light of the euro crises. Spanish airline Spanair also filed for bankruptcy at the end of January.
A spokesman for the International Air Transport Association (IATA) predicts a net loss for European carriers of around 450 million euros this year.
Meanwhile, in response to Malev's announcement, the low-cost Irish airline Ryanair said on Friday it is planning 26 new routes from
sb/ccp (AFP, Reuters, AP)