EX-YU cities loose Budapest flights after Malev collapseFollowing Malev’s demise on Friday, EX-YU cities have been left without direct air links to Hungary’s capital Budapest, which, amongst other things, attracted many transit passengers. None of the national carriers of the former Yugoslavia have attempted to introduce flights to Budapest and try to scoop stranded passengers. On Friday Lufthansa, easyJet, Wizz Air and Air Berlin were quick to react and increase frequencies while Ryanair announced over thirty new destinations to the Hungarian capital.
Malev had an extensive network in the former Yugoslavia operating flights to Belgrade, Priština, Podgorica, Sarajevo, Skopje and Zagreb. The Hungarian national carrier operated nine weekly flights to Belgrade. Recently, the airline had seen sliding passenger numbers on the route as more competition saw fewer transit passengers. The airline planed to reduce the service to one daily flight from the 2012 summer season. Malev operated two daily flights to Priština and thirteen weekly to Skopje, from which it saw numerous transit passengers. There were no plans to either increase or reduce flights over the coming summer. Sarajevo enjoyed daily flights and Podgorica six weekly while nearby Zagreb saw 18 weekly services between the two cities this winter. None of the former Yugoslav national carriers operate flights to the Hungarian capital and none have jumped at the opportunity to inaugurate services between the two cities since Malev’s demise. While the Hungarian low cost airline Wizz Air is based in Belgrade, it is unlikely it will be tempted to launch flights between the two cities as its aircraft are too big and inter Eastern European flights have proved unsuccessful for the airline in the past.
Officials at Budapest Airport, one of the biggest losers of Malev’s grounding, said it doubts the flights will ever be reinstated. "There are some estimates that over 20 or 23 routes of Malev will never be served by other airlines", airport spokesmen Mihaly Hardy said. It is believed that the Hungarian government will work to set up a new national carrier by the start of the 2012 summer season, which begins in over a month. It remains to be seen whether EX-YU destinations, on which Malev had a complete monopoly, will be resumed.