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The agreement establishing the legal predecessor of Malév, Maszovlet (Hungarian-Soviet Civil Airline Company), was signed on 29 March 1946. The airline fleet consisted of five 21-seater Li-2s for passengers and five, 3-seater, "air taxi" Po-2s. From 15 October 1946 Maszovlet started operation to domestic destinations. In 1947, the first Maszovlet foreign charters took off, soon complemented by a scheduled service to Prague.

The opening of Ferihegy Airport on 7 May 1950 brought about an important change in the life of Maszovlet. At this time, the airline was also responsible for running Ferihegy Airport and Hungary's air traffic control.

Thus on 26 November, Malév Hungarian Airlines (Magyar Légiközlekedési Vállalat) began independent operations as the legal successor of Maszovlet. At that time Malév had a fleet of 15 aircraft covering 18 domestic and foreign routes. In the year of its transformation the company carried 103,356 passengers.

Once the company was fully owned by Hungary a start was made on modernizing the fleet. The Li-2s were exchanged for IL-14 aircraft with twice the capacity and cruising speed. Ilyushins were in service with the Hungarian carrier between 1957-69. The company's first scheduled flight to the West left for Vienna on 5 June 1956.

Once the necessary bilateral aviation agreements had been concluded, Malév was able to start extending its scheduled European route network. By 1961, Malév was flying to Belgrade, Copenhagen, Tirana, Amsterdam, Brussels, Moscow, Stockholm, Zurich, Frankfurt, Paris and Rome. Within just a few years Malév and Ferihegy had converged with Europe.

In 1960, Malév was the first of the Soviet bloc countries to bring an Il-18 turboprop airliner - one of the foremost aircraft of the 1960s - into service. Malév purchased a total of eight Il-18s from the Soviet Union between 1960 and 1967. The Il-18 permitted the opening of services to the Middle East and North Africa. In 1969, Malév aircraft were departing from Ferihegy for 33 cities in 28 countries.

Finally, in 1969, Malév closed down its domestic air services in Hungary. The first 68-seat Tupolev Tu-134 jet passenger aircraft was entered into scheduled service in the summer of 1969.

As the next stage in the fleet upgrade, Malév swapped the Il-18s for This graceful, slim aircraft was in service at Malév right up until 1999. 143-seater Tu-154 planes, brought into scheduled service in the summer of 1974. This new type allowed Malév gradually to withdraw its Il-18s from passenger service, and after reconfiguration they continued as cargo carriers.

A vital milestone was reached in 1984 when the company was admitted as a full-right member of the International Air Transport Association (IATA).

At the end of the 1980s, the company was regularly carrying more than one million passengers a year, and flying to 40 cities in 30 countries. In terms of annual revenue, Malév ranked among the top 10 companies in Hungary.

At the end of the decade Malév initiated a new stage in the fleet modernization programme. At the same time as political changes were sweeping throughout Hungary and Eastern Europe, the Hungarian national flag carrier was the first to get the governmental go-ahead to lease aircraft made in the West. Since then the company has operated American-built Boeing B737 jets.

As older East European types were withdrawn in preference for Western models the external appearance of the fleet was also redesigned to give the increasingly modern fleet the livery and image we see today.

Regular long-haul charters conducted with Boeing 767 aircraft began in late July 1992. These aircraft also cover scheduled services to North America, started in May 1993.

One important change implemented in the 1990s was the structural transformation of the Hungarian national airline. Malév has functioned as a joint stock company from summer 1992.

Between 1996 and 2006, numerous key milestones were reached: the fleet was upgraded, many new services were inaugurated, and a new route network was born. Starting in 1996, Malév expanded its fleet with six new 67-seater Fokker 70s and, from 2002, with four 50- and 48-seater Bombardier CRJ 200 aircraft designed to meet the demands of business travellers.
From January 2003, a major programme was launched to replace the company's older Boeings with the very latest Next-Generation Boeing 737-600s, 700s and 180-seat 800 aircraft.

Over the last few years, despite ever-increasing competition Malév has managed to maintain its market position and increase the number of its customers year after year. During 2007 the company carried more than 3 million passengers on scheduled flights. The airline has been presented with numerous awards in Hungary and abroad, thereby confirming its status as one of the best European carriers with regard to standard of services.

Malév was privatized in the first half of 2007, when a 99.95% stake in the shares of the Hungarian national carrier were purchased from the Hungarian state by AirBridge Zrt., a company founded and registered in Hungary.

Malév became a full-right member of the oneworld airline alliance on 1 April 2007.
oneworld, the world's leading airline alliance, allows its members to offer their customers a wider range of services and benefits than any single airline can do on its own. This translates into an extended route network, the chance to accrue and use frequent flyer points/miles across a synchronized global route network, and the use of airport executive lounges in every part of the world.

Malév continues to develop its range of online services. As a result of this ongoing development, from 2008 e-tickets are available on every route, plus online check-in and online ticket modification services are added as well. In addition, our customers can arrange travel insurance (complete with travel cancellation cover) direct from the airline's website. Most recently, the airline redesigned its website at the end of 2008 to make both its structure and image compliant with the latest customer requirements.

From the summer of 2007 Malév introduced dozens of cost-cutting and revenue-generating measures. As part of this drive the loss-making long-haul routes were closed down in 2008, and the fleet is being gradually restructured and integrated. Next-Generation B737NG aircraft, the core of the fleet, have been joined by cost-efficient Q400 turboprops with low fuel consumption indicators, flying on regional routes. The first member of the new turboprop fleet was brought into service on 29 November 2008.

The airline's commercial strategy places the focus on the European and Middle Eastern markets, offering customers multifaceted travel products with dynamic and advantageous conditions adjusted to the changed market environment. Malév ensures a bridge between the regions of Europe, supplying rapid and convenient connections between north and south, east and west.
At the begginig of 2010 Malév was re-privatized; the Hungarian State acquires a majority, 95% ownership share in Malév Hungarian Airlines. AirBridge retains the remaining 5%. The change of ownership is managed by a reduction in the equity of Malév and then a capital increase. Vnesheconombank remains one of the largest creditors of the Hungarian airline; this means that its former ownership role is fundamentally changed to that of a creditor.


(from: http://www.malev.com/companyinformation/malev-history/short-history-malev-1946-2008) www.malev.com Malev Hungarian Airlines JPG 900x159 logo