Cash-strapped Malev ceases operations

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Hungarian airline Malev has suspended operations and grounded its fleet in the face of accelerating financial collapse.

A statement on the Oneworld alliance member's website said that it taken the decision to "cease operations" from 06.00 local on 3 February "after 66 years of almost continuous operation".

Lorant Limburger, chief executive, said it had "worked hard" to avoid the airline's closure, however, recent revelations about its financial health had worsened the situation, with suppliers demanding up-front payment for services.

"This cash outflow accelerated to such an extent that the airline is now in an untenable situation," he said.

The Hungarian government is unable to offer further support thanks to EC rules on state aid. The commission on 9 January ruled that Malev would have to pay back the nearly Ft100 billion ($406 million) it received from Budapest between 2007 and 2010.

"Against this background, the board decided to order [Malev] to end its proper functioning," said Limburger.

Malev warned on 31 January that it was rapidly running out of money and called for urgent talks with politicians to secure its short-term future.