Hungary mulls new flag-carrier fuelled by Russian cash

By bne IntelliNews February 9, 2016

Hungary is in talks with Russian aircraft manufacturer Sukhoi over plans to launch a new national air carrier, local media claimed on February 9.

The Russian company would provide Budapest with six new Sukhoi Superjet 100 aircraft, as well as financial support, reports. Negotiations started in October and according to initial estimates, Hungary’s GDP could be boosted by an additional €110mn a year if a national carrier was launched.

Evgeny Andrachnikov, the deputy CEO of Sukhoi’s civilian aircraft production, said a Hungarian national carrier would provide a great opportunity for Sukhoiʼs Superjet 100 aircraft to show its worth. The plane is the main development to date in a long-term bid to revive Russia's aerospace industry.

Hungary has been without a national airline since 2012, when flag carrier Malev was grounded. There have since been several unsuccessful attempts to launch a new national carrier.

In the meantime, foreign airlines - along with Hungarian low-cost carrier Wizz Air - have rushed to fill the void. Privately-owned Wizz Air has significantly raised its capacity over the past four years and now claims to be the largest low-cost airline in Central and Eastern Europe.


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