Arik Air management has rejected two B737-800 series jets offered it by the recently-liquidated Malev Hungarian Airlines. Investigations by Daily Sun reveal that the Hungarian carrier, shortly after it ceased all activity on February 3 this year, after 66 years of operations declared its airplanes for sale.
Whilst looking for buyers for some of its aircraft, the company approached Arik Air to buy two of the B737-800 jets which had been in storage since February. However, Arik Air, after concluding its investigations, discovered that the airplanes were the first generation type and between 8-10 years old, and not the model it would have been interested in. “As at the time of liquidation, the airline had 22 aircraft in its fleet and are now in storage.
Some of the aircraft could find their way to Nigeria via other Nigerian airlines”, warned a top aviation source. Malév ceased all flight operations on 3 February 2012, after 66 years of continuous operation. It came after the European Commission ordered Malév to repay various forms of state aid received from 2007 to 2010, totalling 38 billion forints (€130m; $171m; £108m), a sum equal to its entire 2010 revenue.
Days before the shutdown, the Hungarian government declared the airline a “strategically important” firm in an effort to save it.
According to Prime Minister Viktor Orbán, the Hungarian government decided to end the airline’s operations when two aircraft were not permitted to leave foreign airports, with one held at Dublin Airport and another at Ben Gurion International Airport in Tel Aviv, Israel. Orbán said over the radio that the collapse was “painful” but that a replacement would have to be founded with private funds.
The airline’s total debt was put at 60 billion forints ($270.5 million USD) at the time of shutdown. The closure occurred at 6am Western European Time on February 3, 2012.