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Sólyom Airlines stranded before take-off

October 14th, 2013

A business daily calls dreamers all those who believed for a moment that the amateurish adventure called Sólyom Airways was viable.Napi Gazdaság asserts that the attempt to set up a new Hungarian air company was doomed to failure from the very start, and that is why the over 70 staff members, mostly former MALÉV employees have to find new jobs after having worked unpaid since September. (For the antecedents and the MALÉV story see BudaPost, 2012 through 2013.) The Hungarian founders, including the Ceo, a former secret service officer, had no experience in the business. They appear to have gambled on unnamed Omani investors, claiming that binding contracts and even substantial funds were already available. In actual fact, about 120 million forints have been spent by a Hungarian co-owner, while the alleged Arab partner withdrew before disbursing the first penny and the founders tried unsuccessfully to negotiate with other candidates, including, apparently, an Iranian air company. Napi Gazdaság dismisses the management’s excuses, namely that the deal with the Omanis crumbled because the Hungarian authorities refused to grant Sólyom the indispensable licences. On the contrary, the paper asserts, those permits could not be released as long as there were no banking guarantees that the company was able to pay its bills for some time even in the absence of sufficient receipts. Napi Gazdaság does not understand how Sólyom could plan high standard flights to European capitals, when such services include landing on the main airports, which are by now virtually inaccessible for newcomers. Sólyom also intended to run intercontinental flights with 120 seat aircraft which would have made any such attempt a failure. What Napi Gazdaság finds most surprising, is that experienced former MALÉV staff members could fall into such a trap. “Hope was stronger than reason”.