Hungarian start-up enters difficult airline world

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Hungarian start-up enters difficult airline world

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A new Hungarian airline is hoping to fill the gap in the market left by the collapse of the country’s national flag carrier Malev last year.

Called Solyom – which is falcon in English – it launches charter flights from next month, with scheduled flights beginning in October.

The start-up plans to fly to 22 destinations, including six European capitals, using six leased planes.

The owners said they have financial backing from Oman and the United Arab Emirates, but industry observers believe the newcomer will have a tough job in the highly competitive market.

Airlines including Wizz Air and Ryanair have already picked up some of Malev’s destinations from Budapest.

Aviation expert Gabor G Varga said: “The biggest question is who will travel with this airline, and not specifically with Solyom but who will travel with any Hungarian airline? After the bankruptcy of Malev in February 2012, the cheap airlines and the big international companies have allegedly filled up the market. Whether this is really so will become clear now. At the same time, it’s a big question whether the Hungarian market can be a basis for a successful premium airline from Budapest.”

European airlines have been hit hard during the eurozone debt crisis. They have had to slash costs in the face of higher fuel charges and competition from low cost rivals.