Malév takes first step to joining oneworld alliance

25 May 2005

oneworldTM  has signed a memorandum of understanding with Malév as the first step towards the Hungarian carrier joining the world's leading quality global airline alliance.

The memorandum of understanding provides a framework for continued discussions, aimed at issuing Malév with an invitation to join the alliance as a full member.

The agreement is subject to Malév meeting a number of requirements, including:

  • Confirmation that it can comply with the full service delivery specifications of the alliance.
  • Full quality and safety audits.
  • Delivery of its new business plan.

When these requirements are met, Malév could be expected to join the alliance in 2006.

oneworld Managing Partner John McCulloch said: "oneworld's focus during the past few years has been on helping our member airlines weather the financial turbulence that has rocked this industry, by building revenues and cutting costs. The results of this strategy are reflected in oneworld being the only alliance whose members are collectively profitable.

"Now our member airlines are at the stage where they feel it is sensible for the alliance to recruit in regions where would like to broaden our network. We are delighted that Malév is lining up to fill that role for oneworld in Central and Eastern Europe and look forward to working with its management team towards an invitation for it to join our alliance as soon as possible."

Malév Chief Executive Janos Gönci said: "It is vital for Malév to join a global alliance. In the current state of the airline industry there is no chance of sustainable earnings for a mid-sized network carrier without partners. oneworld membership will immensely broaden the network of Malév and further improve the scope of services and benefits available to all our customers. At the same time we believe we can provide our oneworld partners with significant value through the addition of our strong central and south-east European presence to their global network"

Hungary's Minister of Economy and Transport János Kóka said: "Malév's oneworld membership will definitely boost the number of passengers and improve the competitive position of our national flag carrier, and provide a substantial contribution to the improvement of its financial results. The proposed membership will also enhance the Central European hub role of Budapest Ferihegy International Airport."

Three existing oneworld partners currently serve Malév's Budapest base - Aer Lingus, British Airways and Finnair. Malév itself operates to established oneworld hubs Helsinki, London Heathrow, Madrid, New York, Dublin and Cork.

Malév already has a code-sharing agreement with oneworld partner Finnair. In parallel with its oneworld discussions, Malév will be discussing additional bilateral co-operation with various members of the alliance.


oneworld, its existing partners and Malév will not be providing any further information or updates on these discussions until they are concluded.

About oneworld

oneworld brings together some of the best and biggest names in the airline business - American Airlines, British Airways, Qantas, Iberia, Cathay Pacific, LAN, Finnair and Aer Lingus - enabling them 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 access to more airport lounges.

Together, its members:

  • Serve an unrivalled network of around 600 destinations in 134 countries
  • Operate more than 8 000 departures a day - an average of one oneworld airline departure or arrival somewhere around the world every five seconds around the clock - on a fleet of some 2 000 aircraft.
  • Carried more than 230 million passengers in 2004 - equivalent to around one in 30 of the world population.
  • Offer more alliance fare and sales products than any of its competitors, earning almost US$600 million for its member airlines in 2004, with all passengers transferring between oneworld members generating revenues totalling US$1.6 billion in the year.
  • Earned almost US$60 billion in revenues, with oneworld activities generating one in every US$30 dollar earned by its member airlines from passenger services.
  • Provide top frequent flyers and premium passengers with some 400 airport lounges worldwide.

oneworld is the only alliance whose members achieved a collective profit in 2004 - US$1.5 billion net, against combined losses by Star carriers totalling more than US$2.2 billion and an overall deficit by SkyTeam's members in excess of US$7 billion.

It is also the holder of the only two international awards presented to airline alliances in 2004 - voted the world's best airline alliance by readers of Business Traveller magazine in its 2004 poll and named the World's Leading Airline Alliance for the second year running in the World Travel Awards, based on votes cast by travel professionals from 80 000 agencies in more than 200 countries.

It is the first global alliance to enable passengers to fly across its entire network with just electronic tickets, with interline e-ticketing links completed between all its member airlines in April 2005.

About Malév

Malév, which has the IATA code MA, serves 55 destinations in 34 countries. It would add to the oneworld map four territories, (Albania, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Macedonia, Slovenia), and 11 airports - Tirana, Sarajevo, Zagreb, Varna, Burgas, Skopje, Constanca, Timisoara, Podgorica, Ljubjana, Odessa.

It carried 2,3 million revenue passengers on its 26 000 scheduled flights in 2004. It operates a fleet of 29 aircraft with an average age of three years, including two Boeing 767-200ERs, 18 Boeing 737 - five Series 800s, seven Series 700s and six Series 600s - plus five Fokker 70s and four Bombadier CRJ200s.

It recorded revenues of US$589 million in 2004 and attained a preliminary result of US$24 million loss, however its business plan aims to return it to profit by 2007. With its subsidiaries, it employs 3 200 staff. Established in 1954, it is currently 99,95 per cent owned by the Hungarian government.