Malév Hungarian Airlines joins oneworld

30 March 2007

Malév Hungarian Airlines was today welcomed on board oneworld®, the world's leading quality global airline alliance, at a series of special celebration events in its Budapest home base.

Its addition, as one of the alliance's first new recruits for six years, is a central part of oneworld's biggest expansion since its launch eight years ago.

It will be joined on board oneworld in the coming days by Japan Airlines, Asia-Pacific's largest carrier, along with five JAL associates as affiliate members, and by Royal Jordanian, the first airline from the Middle East to find a home with any of the global alliances. Two more members of the LAN alliance will board at the same time as well - LAN Argentina and LAN Ecuador, also as affiliates.

Malév and these other oneworld recruits will start offering oneworld services and benefits from this coming weekend, with all on board from 1 April. Dragonair will join them later this year.

To mark Malév's addition to the grouping today, the airline's new Chairman Boris Abramovich and Chief Executive János Gönci were joined at the company's Budapest base by senior representatives and uniformed staff from all its new partners.

Leading the delegation of visitors were oneworld Managing Partner John McCulloch and Henrik Arle, Deputy Chief Executive of Finnair, which has acted as Malév's oneworld sponsor.

oneworld Managing Partner John McCulloch said: "Today is a special day for the oneworld alliance and for aviation in Central and East Europe in particular. With Malév and our other recruits, oneworld will broaden its coverage in three of the world's fastest growing regions for air travel. We will add the quality and strength of more great brands to the world's leading airline alliance. We will further increase the value, choice and range that we offer our oneworld customers. We are delighted that Malév is right at the forefront of this new era."

Finnair Deputy Chief Executive Henrik Arle added: "A critical factor in oneworld's success has been the high quality of member airlines, which is why we are extremely careful in our choice of new recruits. We look for partners that fit our brands, that match our high standards of customer service and that share our overall approach to business. Malév is an airline with a strong reputation for customer service, and with a young fleet. Its excellent Budapest hub is ideally positioned to act as our alliance's gateway the entire East and Central European region. We are very pleased to welcome Malév to oneworld."

Malév's newly elected Chairman Boris Abramovich said: "Being part of oneworld will enable Malév to provide our customers with superior access to the world - and help build Budapest's role as a major aviation hub in this region, with all the benefits that will deliver to Hungary. It is vital in today's airline industry for a medium-sized airline like Malév to have the best of the best as partners to achieve long-term efficiencies and sustainable profitability comparable to those of oneworld."

Malév Chief Executive János Gönci added: "Malév is very proud to join the world's leading airline alliance as its representative from Central and East Europe. Our months of preparation have confirmed our belief that oneworld and its member airlines are outstanding professionals and industry leaders, and we are certain that this follows through to the benefit of the customers of oneworld the world over. Malév's joining of the alliance will open up the power of oneworld to even more customers in even more markets than ever before"

Once the airline joins the alliance this weekend, members of Malév's Duna Club frequent flyer programme will be able to earn and redeem mileage awards on all other oneworld carriers, with Duna Platinum and Gold cardholders also gaining access to the 400 airport lounges worldwide offered by the alliance's airlines.

Members of the established oneworld airlines' frequent flyer programmes will be able to earn and redeem awards and receive all other oneworld benefits on Malév, along with JAL, Royal Jordanian, LAN Argentina and LAN Ecuador, whose networks will also be covered by oneworld's extensive range of alliance fares and sales products.

The 18-month implementation programme to prepare Malév for its oneworld membership is now all but complete. It was the first of the alliance's three recruits to offer interline e-ticketing (IET) with all its oneworld partners, with the last of its connections completed in January. oneworld has been the only alliance with IET between all partners for almost two years now, enabling passengers to connect between its member airlines' flights with the convenience of electronic tickets only.

All the necessary internal processes and procedures at Malév have been brought into line with the alliance's requirements. Thousands of its employees have participated in a special training programme to ensure they can deliver the alliance's services and benefits from Day One, and dozens of its IT systems linked to those at the other oneworld airlines.

Malév has been participating since June in the alliance's Global Explorer round-the-world fare product, which includes some other carriers which are not part of the alliance, and will become fully involved in all the alliance's other fares and sales products from 1 April.

About Malév Hungarian Airlines

Malév serves around 60 destinations in 35 countries, mainly in Europe, including oneworld hubs Helsinki, London Gatwick, Madrid, New York JFK and Bangkok. It adds ten cities to the oneworld network, all of them in Central and Eastern Europe, and two countries – Montenegro and the Republic of Macedonia.

With some 3 000 staff, Malév carried more than 3 million passengers in 2006. Its fleet of some 30 aircraft - including three Boeing 767s used on its longhaul routes, plus 18 new generation 737s and nine regional aircraft - has an average age of five years old. They operate around 80 departures daily in a four-wave hub system at Budapest, connecting routes from the west and the east.

According to Association of European Airlines data, Malév was one of Europe's three most punctual airlines in 2006. Among the accolades it has received for the quality of its services, it was recently named Best Airline in Easter Europe by readers of North America's Global Traveler magazine, and has been voted Best Airline of the Year for the past three years running by travel agents, business people and other travellers in a poll by Hungary's Az Utazó (The Traveller) magazine.

It has code-sharing agreements with oneworld partners American Airlines, British Airways, Finnair, Iberia and Japan Airlines.

About oneworld

oneworld enables its member airlines to offer their customers more services and benefits than any airline can provide on its own. These include a broader route network, opportunities to earn and redeem frequent flyer miles and points across the combined oneworld network and more airport lounges.

Its established member airlines comprise American Airlines, British Airways, Cathay Pacific, Finnair, Iberia, LAN Airlines and Qantas.

JAL, Malév and Royal Jordanian and the new affiliates will expand the size of the alliance substantially, to:

  • Almost 700 airports, around a hundred more than now.
  • Nearly 150 countries.
  • 9 000 daily departures, a thousand more than today.
  • Around 315 million passengers, 65 million more than at present.
  • 265 000 employees.
  • Almost 2 500 aircraft.
  • US$85 billion revenues, up by a third.

It is the only alliance with any members in the Americas south of Mexico and also the only alliance offering a full network in Australia.

oneworld is the only alliance whose members collectively achieved a profit in their latest full financial years. It was voted the World's Leading Airline Alliance for the fourth year running in the 2006 World Travel Awards, based on votes cast by some 170 000 travel professionals, including more than 110 000 travel agents in 200 countries.