Posts Tagged 'Malev news'

R.I.P. Malév – by balint01

2012 is supposed to be the end of the world – according to the Mayas. I do not believe in that. But 2012 actually turns out to be the end, for at least a part of the world: for those of us who have ever worked at Malév Hungarian Airlines or somewhere in the Hungarian Aviation Industry.

3rd of February, 2012. The date when Malév – the 66 year old Hungarian Airlines – disappeared from the skies. At some point in its history it was part of the North-American skies, the Asian skies, the Middle-Eastern skies and the African skies. But most importantly, Malév was always part of the European skies. And it was proud of it. Malev was also proud to become a European Union flag carrier in 2004 – but ironically this status put the latest nail in its coffin. A coffin that was started to be built about 20 years ago, sometime in the early 1990’s, after the political change in this part of the world.

One thing you need to know though: while the politicians were working hard on building this coffin, most of the employees (I’m sorry, but I can’t say ‘all of the employees’, only ‘most’ at best) were working against it. So most of the employees believed in a Hungarian National Airline, and believed that it can be operated in a professional, profitable way. Maybe even an efficient way. So what went wrong then? you may ask. I believe that the 20 year old last chapter in its history – that ended with the complete disappearance of Malév yesterday – had one root problem: ever changing top management. 21 years – 17 CEO’s!! (But this will most likely be a different post in this blog in the near future.)

Anyway, while growing up, I built about 70 plastic planes, and watched airliners at Budapest Ferihegy Airport Terminal 1 observation deck a few times. I was really jealous of my father visiting his best friend in Stockholm with an SAS DC-9. Then at the age of 8, my parents couldn’t take me away from the observation deck of the Frankfurt Airport for more than two hours… I was amazed by seeing so many planes and identifying each flag carrier by their tail design. Then at 11, I flew for the first time in my life – and like most of the Hungarians older than 15 – I had my first flying experience aboard Malév. It was a Tupolev Tu-154. I was so excited about this flight, that I threw up – funnily after we landed in Rome… I can still remember that the flight attendants on that flight were extremely nice and helpful. Really.

Then I flew about 10 times with them before I joined Malév in 2003. On my first interview (with Szafi) I was told that we would try to save the airline with the new e-business solutions, but it may not be flying in one year. I convinced myself that it was a great opportunity to be a member of the team that may save the Hungarian National Flag Carrier – especially being fresh out of the university, without a family to support, just starting my carrier. And I’m glad I convinced myself of this risk, as I had enjoyed 3 great years there – plus I met so many wonderful people, including my wife!

I really had the privilege of getting to know so many people across the whole company while working with the BPR part of the team who introduced online booking – and later e-ticketing. I became friends with colleagues at the Pricing Department, Scheduling, Domestic and International Sales, the Ticketing offices, the Call Center, Finance, Marketing, Legal, Communications, Airport Operations in Budapest and at a number of stations we flew to – just to mention a few. As an aviation enthusiast employee, I had of course met and talked to a number of Malév pilots and flight attendants as well. Some of these people have moved on over the years and are now working at other companies, but some of them just lost their jobs – yesterday. I truly share their feelings as much as possible and wish them strength and all the best in the coming days, weeks!

On the other hand, we must also talk about realities. I hate to say this, but such an airline with so many CEO’s and ever changing strategy over decades, was destined to die. We all knew this. We just didn’t want to believe it. And we were all shocked when as an employee first heard the ‘rumours’ that we may not get our next salary. Then the ‘old folks’ told us ‘Don’t worry, this has been happening at least once a year for the last decade, there is always a solution!‘ And we tried to believe them, but then waited for the next salary with nervousness. And it was transferred. Then a few months later it happened again. It got transferred again. For the third time I already felt like the ‘old folks’ – no worries, this is just a small panic. And it would probably go on like this for the latest newcomers for years to come – only if the EU would not rule out financial help by the state. They say this is to protect competition. From the Budapest flight market one thing has disappeared yesterday: the main competitor. Meaning that there will be no real competition from now on, as the other flag carriers flying to Budapest will be the sole carriers on their respective routes. Who will stop Lufthansa to raise their fares to Hamburg or Frankfurt, or BA to London, or Air France to Paris – when there is no other airline flying there from Budapest? What will the EU say now? Also, if there is no state-aid for the Air Carriers, why can be state-aid for banks when they are in trouble? Or for car manufacturers when they are in trouble? Why not for Air Carriers when they are in trouble? Like Spanair a week ago and now Malév. Who will be next in a week’s time? CSA Czech Airlines? LOT? SAS? Is the EU protecting competition, or is it protecting the three large European Airline conglomerates (Lufthansa group, Air France-KLM group and BA-Iberia group) and low-cost carriers?

Malev is now gone. From the skies. Physically it only remains in the Airplane Museum at the Budapest Liszt Ferenc Airport – unfortunately no Boeing 737 NG planes will ever be exhibited there, as they were all flown back to the lessor ILFC last night already. But it remains in the hearts of those who ever worked there. And for those who are just now joining the world outside of Malév, I can guarantee one thing: You will continue to talk about Malév as ‘us’ and ‘we’ for decades to come. Trust me, I know, because I do that all the time, too.

Rest In Peace, Blue-Nosed, Malév Hungarian Airlines!

by balint01

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Malev Hungarian Airlines Orders Sukhoi Superjets

The 2009 Paris Air Show has just begun today, with the expectation of no major aircraft orders due to the current economic crisis. Airbus and Boeing are still in the net cancellations for 2009, and they are not expecting any major orders this week.

But the economic crisis may be helping smaller, upcoming aircraft manufacturers to record some orders – as they can probably stay cheaper than the two major global companies. One of them is the new Russian Sukhoi Superjet, that has reportedly gained 30 orders from Malév Hungarian Airlines today. Sukhoi Superjet International has announced that it closed a deal with oneworld member Malev for 30 Sukhoi Superjet 100s (15 firm + 15 options), as Martin Gauss, CEO of Malév and Alessandro Franzoni, CEO of Superjet International have signed a letter of intent today at Le Bourget. It is not yet known whether it’s a complete purchase or a leasing deal, but the deal’s value is said to be in excess of 1 billion USD. According to the plans, the first aircraft would arrive at Malév in 2011, and 6 would follow each year. The Hungarians are the first known “Western” customers for the type, which marks its entry into the skies of the European Union – therefore it is a very important announcement for Sukhoi.

Sukhoi Superjet Revealed - by Reuters

The Superjet was revealed in September 2007, but then fell behind original plans and got delayed, similar to other new aircrafts in the 21st century, but finally took to the skies on its first flight in June 2008. Malev has been tied with a possible order earlier, but this seems to be confirmed today.

Malév Hungarian Airlines currently operates a short-haul fleet with 18 Boeing 737 NGs making up most of the fleet and the turboprop Bombardier Q400 taking the regional role (replacing Fokker-70’s as those are being phased out). The question unanswered at the moment is whether the two-class configured SJJ100’s would be introduced as the third aircraft type or would replace either the 737s or the Q400s. We hope these 30 will be additional, as the 98 seat Superjet would not be able to take the role of the 737-700 and -800s that can carry up to 140 and 180 passengers respectively.

The deal itself may sound a surprise to some, but given the fact that the Russian state-owned Vnyesekonombank holds a minority stake in Malév and has been postponing its promised capital injection, this order for the Russian aircraft type may be part of the behind-the-scenes inter-government deal pushed down the throat of the ailing Hungarian state carrier.

by balint01

Malev’s Problems

An article from ATW online from yesterday:

Alliance membership, new owner have Malev targeting improvement

Friday June 8, 2007Malev Hungarian Airlines said its 2007 business plan will allow it to reduce significantly the operating and pre-tax losses suffered last year.

Buoyed by its membership in oneworld and its recent privatization, it expects to report a HUF7.5 billion ($40.1 million) pre-tax loss this year compared to HUF10.5 billion in 2006, along with an operating loss of HUF5.3 billion that will represent considerable improvement from the HUF10.8 billion deficit suffered last year.

Malev said its gains will be based on “increasing passenger traffic, an even greater market share and the impact on growth in traffic deriving from membership [in oneworld],” which it said will benefit its bottom line by HUF3 billion, in addition to “extremely rigorous cost management.”

New owner AirBridge has agreed to invest €102 million ($137.9 million) in the carrier (ATWOnline, May 7). Malev said its forecasted losses may improve further because its business plan “does not include the concepts of a new investor.” It carried more than 3 million revenue passengers in 2006, nearly 9% more than in the previous year, with revenue increasing 11% to HUF107.9 billion. Costs rose 10% to HUF136.6 billion.

Separately, Malev announced the appointment of former LOT Polish Airlines executive Piotr Ikanowicz as CFO and investment banking specialist Zoltan Mester as chief officer-infrastructural and portfolio management.

Let me add a sort comment to this article: what gives the basis to this estimation in June, when so far nothing has been changed since last year? Summer is the highest season of the travel industry. If the new people have just arrived at the company, they will need a few weeks to get involved in things and besides that the arrival of 2 people cannot change anything especially not within a few months. This summer is over, guys. And I bet this nmber will not be met at the end of the year. But let’s return to this topic then. 🙂

Earlier blog entry about Malev’s descend.

by Szafi

Malev’s descend

I’ll start blogging with my favorite topic: Malev. I had worked there for 5 years and I was the lucky one, who could recreate and manage the website first, then together with some friends we created the e-commerce solution and the e-ticketing sokution of Malev. Later I managed the project that introduced self check-in kiosks for Malev at the hub airport, Ferihegy.

Recently it has been a big hit in the media that Malev sells over HUF 1 billion (around EUR 4 million) online in a month. If you add it up, it equals 12 billion yearly. The total revenue of Malev is HUF 100 billion per year. This means that 12 billion is exactly 12% of the total sales. I do not have exact numbers in my hands at the moment, but the inimum other European airlines sell online is around 60%. So the question no journalist as ever asked the Malev CEO: why is this number so low? And how can it be that they stand in front of the whole media with such a press release that shows such a pathetic picture? The answer is that because probably no journalist in Hungary knows such trivia about aviation.

When we still worked at malev, we always emphasized the importance of using sales channels in the proper way. An e-ticket sold on the website of the airline is the cheapest ticket for the airline. Therefore the strategy to direct passengers to this sales channel should be very agressive. This is the proper way to keep up competition with low-cost carriers. BA, KL, LH and many other European network carriers who are pressed by the low-cost competition are aware of this and they took the right steps to that direction.

I guess it will take some tme for Malev’s professionals until they realize this. Apparently the new owner, Mr Abramovich, the owner of Air Union did not have any plan when he finally managed to buy the company from the Hungarian state after 2 years of tough fighting, which even included top level politicians. It is amazing how much effort they invested in buying the company, but we still see no point in it as nothing seems to change. The old management, who reached around HUF 16 billion loss last year (16% of the total revenue) is still there, there is no change neither in the bad fleet structure, nor in the schedule, nor in the weak sales activity. Money can still flow out through those wholes that were drilled by the management. I don’t really understand the goal of the new owner, but if the goal is to keep the company, something should be done very urgently.

Well, I hope for my ex colleagues that the goal is not something different.


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