Ryanair intends quick opening of Budapest base

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Irish budget carrier Ryanair is joining Wizz Air in picking off collapsed Malev's routes by opening a new base at Budapest within the next few days.

It had already intended to open five new services from Budapest. But following the depletion of air services in the wake of Malev's suspension of operations, Ryanair plans to operate 31 new routes from the Hungarian capital.

Four Boeing 737-800s will be stationed at Budapest when the base opens on 17 February.

Ryanair claims the decision will replace "most of the traffic and routes lost" after the loss of Malev. The carrier plans to offer posts to Malev crews and engineers to establish the operation quickly.

But the airline points out that the final decision will depend on reaching agreement with Budapest airport's operator regarding costs and handling.

Oneworld, the alliance to which Malev belongs, has pointed out that two other members - British Airways and Finnair - serve Budapest, and passengers booked on codeshare flights are being offered alternative travel arrangements.

All but five of Malev's 53 destinations - Sarajevo, Podgorica, Cluj-Napoca, Tirgu Mures and Odessa - are served by other Oneworld carriers, the alliance adds.

Future Oneworld partner Air Berlin is also to take up capacity on Budapest routes with a daily service from Berlin from 6 February, it said.