Here is a riddle for you. What is silver and blue with a red, green, and white stripe that is currently flying, but may not be for much longer? Give up? Here is a hint.
Yes, the Hungarian national airline may be permanently grounded in the near future. As it turns out, the European Union is imposing fines on the national airline for selling its soul to the ‘wrong’ investors just to keep the airline afloat.
Apparently, the government from which the airline calls home, is the wrong investor. The EU is fining Malév for receiving state support totaling Ft 100 billion (€355 million) to keep it afloat. Well, technically it should be keeping it airborne, but with the losses Malév have stacked up, losses of Ft 25 billion last year and expected to end this year in the red with Ft 8-10 billion, it is drowning in debt. Afloat is the better choice of words in this instance.
The real shame of it all is that each and every time we have flown Malév, we have been pleased with the service. I have never heard a non-Hungarian ever complain about the airline. Not that I have heard Hungarians complain, but since they are still telling me how awful the Budapest public transportation system is, they cannot be trusted to judge any form of people movers.
Believe me, we have heard enough airline complaints to fill an encyclopedia. The largest entry would be under Air France. Now there is a dismal excuse for a national airline. Malév, there are a few of us rooting for you!