Birth of a new Hungarian airline: they plan to connect the cities of Central Europe
Aeroexpress Regional is the new brand of a company operating regular flights in Finland for more than 30 years. Dániel Somogyi-Tóth, the company’s co-owner, gave an interview to vg.hu, a Hungarian economy-focused media outlet. He said they are cooperating with the Hungarian government on how they could create a regional flight service by following European examples. The aim is to connect the cities of Central Europe.
MALÉV, the Hungarian flag carrier between 1946 and 2012, ceased operations in February 2012. Shortly after, a Hungarian start-up announced that it would fill the market void. However, the new airline never started operating, and apart from loud declarations, they did almost nothing.
Therefore, everyone is skeptical in Hungary if they hear about a new Hungarian airline. By the way, Wizz Air is 100% Hungarian, but it never wanted to be the flag carrier of Hungary. In addition, he continued to compete for passengers in the economy category, in which he is very successful.
The Aeroexpress Regional, a Hungarian start-up, yesterday announced its first flights connecting Budapest to Cluj-Napoca and Debrecen to Cluj-Napoca and Targu Mures. The new flights will operate three times a week for a two-month introductory period, during which passenger feedback will be assessed. Regardless of returns, flights will shuttle until the end of October, vg.hu wrote today. What happens next is up to the passengers and the Hungarian government, co-owner Dániel Somogyi-Tóth added.
Given the financial context, Aeroexpress Légiforgalmi Ltd is behind Aeroexpress Regional. That Ltd was founded and is still owned by BASe Airlines Ltd, a company founded in 1991. Its central base is Budapest Ferenc Liszt International Airport. Its planes have flown 23,000 hours in the past 17 years and made 27,000 landings without any problems. The company participated in the operation of Malév regional flights and carried out tourism and public service missions in Italy, Croatia, Denmark and Spain. Therefore, they do not lack experience in the sector. In addition, they have provided regular air service for years in Finland, thanks to an agreement with the state.
Dániel Somogyi-Tóth created the Aeroexpress group. Mr. Somogyi-Tóth is the director of the Aeropark Aviation Museum near Ferenc Liszt International Airport. Moreover, he is also a well-known organist. Flying runs through her veins since her father held several senior positions in the sector in Budapest and abroad.
They are to be put into service in September in cooperation with the Hungarian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade and the operator of Debrecen International Airport. The local airport won money on a flight development tender with which they could support their project, Somogyi-Tóth explained. By the way, they operate seaplanes at Lake Balaton and would like to reintroduce regular flights there and on the Danube.
Like us reported before, their flights on the Budapest–Cluj Napoca–Debrecen–Targu Mures–Debrecen–Cluj Napoca–Budapest route are to operate on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. The prices will be between 30 and 90 euros. Interestingly, they will do the Cluj Napoca-Budapest round trip in a single day, which could open up options for business travelers. This route seems to be popular. Romanian Air Connect announced it would operate flights from mid-October a few weeks ago.
The airline will use a Brazilian-built passenger aircraft, Embraer 120 ER. Its capacity is 30 passengers. The former is expected to take off for the first time on Monday. These aircraft have been specially developed for the efficient and economical operation of short-haul regional flights. The aircraft they will use come from the Air France Regional fleet. Their cruising altitude is 8,500 meters.
Vg.hu says there is potential for regional flights. For example, the Polish LOT has a flight between Budapest and New York. However, there are no flights that connect neighboring countries. In addition, these flights could help connect regions where public transport is difficult. They hope that by October their passenger numbers will stabilize.
Somogyi-Tóth pointed out that they would like to try if the product of BASe Airlines in Finland (three domestic flights per day) can be imported into Hungary. He added that there should be potential in connecting regions where Hungarians live to neighboring countries with Hungary. They cooperate closely with the Hungarian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade as they believe that without the help of the government they cannot initially succeed.
He said Debrecen could be the hub for regional flights in the Carpathian Basin. For example, he thinks it is quite conceivable to start regular flights between:
- Targu Mures – Lake Balaton
- Krakow – Debrecen
- Salzburg – Debrecen
- Pecs – Cluj Napoca
Originally they planned a Subcarpathian destination, Ungvár (Uzshorod). But they couldn’t realize it because of the war. However, they would like to connect it to Budapest, Debrecen or even Vienna.
In the meantime, Somogyi-Tóth sees no option for domestic flights due to the development of rail and highway connections.
Source: vg.hu, DNH