Malév Ceases Operations

Malév Hungarian Airlines Ceases Flights

After 66 years of flying, Malév ceased operations on February 3, 2012, at 6pm local time, under bankruptcy protection.  The Hungarian government stopped funding the carrier, which ended operations with debts in excess of 60 billion Hungarian Forints.

Update – February 5, 2012: We have since published two additional articles regarding Malév – Oneworld Carriers Assist Malév Passengers and Malév Refund Information.

The end of operations was accelerated after two Malév aircraft were held overseas for alleged non-payment of debt.

Further problems arose on January 9, 2012, when the European Commission ruled Malév needed to return “unlawful aid” the airline received in an assortment of state financing between 2007 and 2010 the carrier otherwise could not obtain on the open market.

In a statement on the carrier’s website, Malév CEO, Lorant Limburger, announced their cash flow was not sustainable and that service providers lost faith in the carrier, asking for advance payment of the services they provide.  Cash outflow accelerated and put the airline into an “untenable situation” while the European Union would not provide any additional financial resources to operate.  As a result, the board ordered the Hungarian national airline to cease operations.

Malév passengers can call 06-40-21-21-21 (within Hungary) or +36-1-802-11-11 (abroad) to be informed if they can travel to their final destination and what the possibilities for compensation are.

According to Malév’s statement, a government decree to provide assistance is available for passengers who purchased their tickets prior to January 31st and are traveling between the stoppage and February 6.  The decree also covers passengers who already started travel with the airline.  For individuals who already started travel abroad the decree is good for passengers scheduled to return before February 29, 2012.

Within the past week, Barcelona based Spanair also ceased operations, and there are other carriers struggling to survive.

Malév Passenger Accomodation


Budapest based discount carrier WizzAir is offering stranded Malév passengers discounted one-way tickets starting at 9,900 Forint, which works out to approximately $45 USD.

Limited numbers of tickets are available between now and February 13, 2012, and can be booked by calling +36 1 358 6565.

The airline was a member of the Oneworld alliance – if you purchased your tickets through another Oneworld carrier such as British Airways or American Airlines, it is suggested you contact them for re-booking of travel.  If your ticket was purchased through a travel agency, contact your travel agency for options.

Malév is offering refunds, but to protect your rights we suggest you contact your credit card issuer used to purchase the tickets.  If tickets were purchased with a US issued credit card, you typically have 60 days to initiate a dispute.

If you have travel insurance, we suggest you contact your travel insurance carrier to see if you are protected.

To meet market demand in the absence of Malév, Irish based Ryanair – an ultra low cost carrier – has announced they will re-start flights to Budapest after pulling out of the market a year and a half ago.  We predict other European carriers will adjust schedules to meet demand Malév is no longer able to supply.

WizzAir Rescue Fare Procedures


WizzAir will allow passengers to re-book under the following conditions for 9,900 Forint ($45 USD):

Passengers must have the Malev electronic ticket number available when calling the Wizz Air call center to rebook their travel at +36 1 358 6565.
Passengers will also need to present a printed copy of their original Malev electronic ticket (in addition to the Wizz Air itinerary), upon check-in for their Wizz Air flight. Passengers without a Malev electronic ticket will not be allowed to travel.
Additional charges apply for optional services such as checked baggage, pre-boarding, etc. Please check for these details along with information about baggage size and weight restrictions.
Malev Routes Malev Airport codes Wizz Air Routes Wizz Air Airport codes
Budapest – Amsterdam BUD-AMS Budapest – Eindhoven BUD-EIN
Budapest – Stockholm BUD-ARN Budapest – Stockholm Skavsta BUD-NYO
Budapest – Brussels BUD-BRU Budapest – Brussels Charleroi BUD-CRL
Budapest – Paris BUD-CDG Budapest – Brussels Charleroi BUD-CRL
Budapest – Cluj BUD-CLJ Budapest – Tirgu Mures BUD-TGM
Budapest – Copenhagen/Malmo BUD-CPH Budapest – Malmo BUD-MMX
Budapest – Rome BUD-FCO Budapest – Rome BUD-FCO
Budapest – Frankfurt BUD-FRA Budapest – Frankfurt Hahn BUD-HHN
Budapest – Gothenburg BUD-GOT Budapest – Gothenburg BUD-GSE
Budapest – Hamburg BUD-HAM Budapest – Dortmund BUD-DTM
Budapest – Helsinki BUD-HEL Budapest – Turku BUD-TKU
Budapest – London BUD-LGW Budapest – London Luton BUD-LTN
Budapest – Madrid BUD-MAD Budapest – Madrid BUD-MAD
Budapest – Milan BUD-MXP Budapest – Milan Bergamo BUD-BGY
Budapest – Bucharest BUD-OTP Budapest – Tirgu Mures BUD-TGM
Budapest – Stuttgart BUD-STR Budapest – Frankfurt Hahn BUD-HHN
Budapest – Tirgu Mures BUD-TGM Budapest – Tirgu Mures BUD-TGM
György Abrán, Chief Commercial Officer of Wizz Air, said, “As the largest airline in Central and Eastern Europe, we deem it important to extend a helping hand to passengers whose travel plans have been interrupted by Malev’s decision to suspend operations. In the past, we have provided similar support to passengers who have been stranded by failing carriers and we will continue to do so. We will continue to grow throughout the region, and are here to provide our passengers a reliable and trusted travel experience for great value and customer satisfaction.”

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9 Responses


am bilete malev pe data dem10.02.2012. cum fac sa ajung la d=Dublin wizzul numzboara acolo multumesc.cod bilet2kaje6


English Translation per

I dem10.02.2012 on Malev flights. How do you get to d = Dublin Wizz numzboara there multumesc.cod bilet2kaje6
Response: Are you looking to fly to or from Dublin on Malev? Try Malev at +36-1-802-11-11 to see if they can rebook you.


I have a ticket for february 15th to london returning on 19th (both flights had a layover in budapest) that i’ve purchased independently by credit card. i’ve called malev romania and they don’t know what to do and have no instructions. i’ve called my bank and they can’t do anything because the sum has been paid. I don’t know what to do further. should i wait to see what malev says? should i book another flight on another operator and see what happens with malev later and how i can get a refund?


route was bucharest-london with a stop in budapest


From their statement: “According to the government regulation which entered into force on 31 January 2012, assistance can be provided to those passengers who purchased their valid tickets before Malév ceased and whose travel dates are on the suspension day or on the following three calendar days. In addition, to those who already travelled to their destination on the suspension day or before and possess valid return tickets on Malév flights on a date not later than 29 February 2012. Those who are entitled are going to have assistance from Malév by rerouting their tickets to other flights or other modes of transportation.”

It appears you will have to obtain a refund and re-book your travel. If I’m reading the above right, you’re only protected within the first three calander days. Try: +36-1-802-11-11

If you have trouble getting a refund, I’d then look to your credit card issuer. Not sure what country it was issued it, but typically you’re protected against such things with Visa, MasterCard, etc.


thank you for the reply. maybe i’m not reading it correctly but i think only those who “According to the government regulation which entered into force on 31 January 2012, assistance can be provided to those passengers who purchased their valid tickets before Malév ceased AND whose travel dates are on the suspension day or on the following three calendar days. In addition, to those who already travelled to their destination ”

so i somehow feel exempted. i did order before january 31, but my travel dates are outside these 3 days. i hope i can get a refund

my credit card is visa and is issued in romania. i’ve already talked to them but the payment had alredy taken place and appears in my bank extract and they say they can’t do anything


i don’t know what to do next, but i guess i’ll probably have to find another operator (as not to lose the trip) book and deal with malev later. conveniently the malev office has working hours only monday to friday, 9 to 5 so until monday i can’t probably hear anything

i’ll keep trying the number you gave me.

thank you again for your advice


Visa should allow you to do what is called a chargeback. I have tickets for Malev in March.

Like you, I used a Visa card. When I called my bank, they told me I had to try to work it out with the merchant and there wasn’t much I could do. I had to tell the customer service agent the airline went out of business and the tickets they sold me are now worthless.

The agent checked with her supervisor and had me fax a letter in to dispute the charge.

This was a Visa card issued by Citibank. I think u should have some recourse.


Hello rk,

I am in the same situation: have a MALEV ticket bought in December for 12th to london returning on 20th (departure from the Cluj airport).
I found out last evening and I was shocked. Anyhow I’ve allready booked from Lufthansa (285 euro offer) and I advise you to do the same.
I also talked to my card issuer (I’ve paid with a Visa card) and I am still waiting for a response.
Let’s keep in touch. My e-mail adress is [email protected].


buna ,ati reusit sa recuperati ceva din biletele de la Malev?

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