Malév invited to join oneworld alliance22 November 2005
Malév is set to join oneworldTM , the world's leading quality airline alliance, after formally accepting an invitation to join the grouping at a ceremony today conducted in the presence of Hungary's Minister of Finance János Veres and Minister of Economy and Transport János Kóka.
It follows a memorandum of understanding reached between oneworld and Malév in May this year.
Since then, the Hungarian airline has satisfied audits by the alliance of its quality and safety standards and a review to ensure it can deliver oneworld's full range of customer services and benefits.
The formal invitation to join the alliance is subject to a number of conditions, including satisfactory progress in its turnaround plan towards profitability. The airline must also conclude bilateral agreements with interested existing partners.
Work will now begin on connecting its IT systems to those of its new partners, bringing key internal processes into line with oneworld requirements, training its employees to deliver oneworld products, customer benefits and support, and completing the other tasks needed before it can become a fully-fledged member of the alliance.
Finnair will act as Malév's sponsor into oneworld, working with it on these activities.
Until the joining process is completed, expected within the next 15 months, it is business and service as usual for both Malév and oneworld.
oneworld Managing Partner John McCulloch and Finnair Chief Operating Officer Henrik Arle were in Budapest today, representing all the existing members of oneworld, to sign the agreement with Malév Chairman Péter Hónig and Chief Executive János Gönci.
Hungary's Minister of Finance János Veres said: "We want Hungary to play a central regional role in both the air passenger and cargo markets. Malev's experience and accession to oneworld, and the promising privatisation of Budapest Airport, support this objective."
Minister of Economy and Transport János Kóka added: "Budapest and its Ferihegy Airport can grow by providing good facilities. Malév joining the oneworld alliance provides further outstanding growth opportunities. The recruitment of our national airline to the alliance will result in even better links with the international aviation market. Malév's stronger position will improve Budapest's regional role, and not just the airline's competitive situation, but also that of the country."
Malév Chairman Péter Hónig said: "Joining oneworld is a crucial element of Malév's turnaround plan. No medium-sized airline can achieve sustainable earnings without partners. We are very proud to have been invited to fly alongside some of the biggest and best airlines in the world."
Malév Chief Executive Janos Gönci added: "Being part of oneworld will broaden our network immensely and further improve the services and benefits we can offer our customers. We also believe we can contribute significantly in value to oneworld through the addition of our strong central and south-east European network."
oneworld Managing Partner John McCulloch said: "Central and Eastern Europe is a region where oneworld would like to broaden its presence - which Malév will do well for us. It has an attractive network in this part of the world and an excellent hub in Budapest. Like oneworld's existing members, it has a reputation for high quality customer service. Its admirable management team has set course to restore the airline to profitability the year after next."
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.
Malév is one of three airlines currently lining up to join. Royal Jordanian was voted on board as a member elect last month, and will start offering the alliance's services and benefits from around the turn of 2006/2007. Also last month, Japan Airlines, the third largest airline in the world in revenue terms, announced it had decided to seek membership.
Malév would expand oneworld's existing network by 11 destinations - Bourgas, Constanca, FlyBalaton (Sármellék), Ljubjana, Odessa, Podgorica, Sarajevo, Skopje, Timisoara, Tirgu-Mures and Zagreb - and three territories (Bosnia-Herzegovina, Macedonia and Slovenia). oneworld's existing members currently serve 134 countries and 602 destinations. With JAL, Royal Jordanian and Malév, the oneworld map would extend to 689 destinations in 141 countries and territories.
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, Cork and Bangkok.
Malév already has a code-sharing agreement with oneworld partner Finnair. It is currently discussing additional bilateral co-operation with various other members of the alliance.
Together, oneworld's members:
- Carried more than 240 million passengers in 2004 - equivalent to around one in 30 of the world population.
- 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.
- 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 more than US$60 billion in revenues in their last full financial years, 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 - more than US$1.3 billion net, against combined losses by Star carriers totalling almost US$3.6 billion and an overall deficit by SkyTeam's members of some US$6.3 billion.
It has since April this year been the only alliance to enable customers to transfer between flights by all of its member airlines using electronic tickets.
oneworld has won more top international awards for airline alliances than both its competitors combined - voted the world's best airline alliance for the second year running by readers of Business Traveller magazine in its 2005 poll and earlier this month named the World's Leading Airline Alliance for the third year running in the 2005 World Travel Awards, based on votes cast by travel professionals from more than 200 countries.
Malév, which has the IATA code MA, serves 58 destinations in 35 countries. It carried 2.5 million revenue passengers in 2004 and employs around 3,200 staff.
Its fleet of 29 aircraft, with an average age of three years, includes 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. They operate an average of 72 departures a day.
It lost US$24 million net on revenues of US$620 million in 2004, but its business plan aims to return it to profit by 2007.
Established in 1954, it is currently 99.95 per cent owned by the Hungarian government.
Its website is malev.com and its frequent flyer programme is called Duna Club.
Pictures, logo and video
Pictures and logos of oneworld and its member carriers can be downloaded from oneworld.com/gallery
Pictures and logos of Malév can be downloaded from the oneworld news section at oneworld.com/gallery
A video b-roll, with broadcast quality shots of oneworld and its existing member airlines, is available from AirTime TV (contact Martin White on +44 7831 270534 or at email@example.com