August 18, 2013 / 7:11 PM / 7 years ago

Hungarian airline Solyom to launch charter flights in September

The first aircraft of newly established Hungarian carrier Solyom Airways is sprayed with water after arriving at its home base at Budapest Airport August 18, 2013. REUTERS/Laszlo Balogh

BUDAPEST (Reuters) - New Hungarian airline Solyom will launch its first charter flights next month and scheduled flights from early October, the company’s chief executive Jozsef Vago said on Sunday.

Vago, presenting Solyom’s first aircraft, a leased Boeing 737-500, to the public at Budapest Airport, said the new airline planned to expand its fleet to 50 or even more aircraft in the coming years.

“In premium services, we want to become Hungary’s leading airline,” he told reporters.

Solyom (Falcon) Hungarian Airways, owned by three Hungarian businessman including Vago, wants to fill in a gap left by the collapse of Hungarian national flag carrier Malev last year.

Industrial experts have said, however, that the newcomer will have a tough job in the highly competitive market. Airlines including Wizz Air and Ryanair (RYA.I) have already picked up some of Malev’s destinations from Budapest.

Vago had earlier said an industry investor from Oman and a financial investor from the United Arab Emirates had committed to funding Solyom.

He said on Sunday the names of the investors remained confidential and declined to name Solyom’s first destinations, other than saying they would be in Europe.

Solyom will launch charter flights next month as it expands its fleet to six aircraft. Scheduled flights will start in early October and Solyom expects to have 12 aircraft by the end of 2013 and 1,500 employees within a year.

From next year, Solyom wants to add flights to North America and China, said Vago, who was photographed holding a falcon on his arm.

Reporting by Sandor Peto; Editing by Alison Williams

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