For part 1 see:
Malev had actually already chosen Boeing, but initially for the short-medium haul market only. It had become the first Warsaw Pact airline to start refreshing its fleet as I discussed here:
During the 1970s and 1980s Malev had never operated a long-haul network and used its TU-154s to operate longer flights like those to Africa. Therefore, it had no Ilyushin IL-62s to replace, but nonetheless the changing times opened up a new era for the Hungarian flag carrier, which sought to start international long-haul routes.
As an aside Malev did actually operate a single IL-62M, but not until 1991, and only then for a total of 3 flights. This aircraft was a 1979 build CSA machine repainted into Malev’s new scheme and reregistered as HA-LIA. For the summer of 1991 she was supposed to operate a series of flights connecting Budapest to Tokyo but after only three flights the rest were cancelled and the aircraft returned to CSA. It seems the IL-62 was too noisy for the Japanese destination.
Hungary itself was going through a painful adjustment towards a free market economy in the early 90s but Malev was keen to serve the lucrative North American market and this would no doubt be a useful source of cash given that ticket prices within Hungary had become prohibitively expensive for the average Hungarian resulting in traffic plummeting. The result was that in 1991 Malev ordered a pair of Boeing 767-200ERs.
Neither of the new 767s would be delivered until 1993 and both arrived on April 30. In the meantime, the airline leased a single 767-375ER from the GPA Group between April and October 1992.
By 1993 the Italian flag carrier Alitalia had acquired a 30% share in the airline and the initial Budapest-Newark route stopped in Rome. This intermediate stop was ended in 1994 and switched to a direct route in co-operation with Delta Air Lines. 1994 was also the year that the airline really began to focus on improving its performance and exchanging its fleet for newer 737s.
The original pair of 767s continued to serve the two long-haul routes but the decision to expand to Canada in 2000 with Toronto and also add Beijing in China require Malev to acquire a third 767. This 1989 build ex-Gulf Air aircraft is leased from Pembroke and joined in August. Nonetheless the new international services didn’t help Malev into profitability and the financial results for 2001 were poor.
Both Bangkok and Beijing services were cut that year and Malev took drastic cost-cutting measures, including the return of the third 767 (in January 2002). As with several of the smaller European flag carriers in the East Malev never really found a workable niche and struggled against low cost competition and the inability to sustain long-haul services. The end came finally on February 3, 2012. By then the pair of 767-27GERs had already left the fleet. The first aircraft joined VARIG in December 2007, whilst the second was wet leased to Oman Air in November 2007 and then stored at Budapest.
Malev and LOT weren’t the only ex-Warsaw Pact national carriers to operate or be interested in 767s. Tarom came very close to acquiring the 767 itself. In 1988 the Romanian flag carrier almost acquired three 767s itself. The airline, Civil aviation department, Transportation ministry, Finance ministry Foreign Trade Ministry, Foreign Trade Bank and Ceausescu's personal adviser all agreed the deal only for it to founder on the desk of the dictator himself. He didn’t actually say no but he never said yes. Boeing got a second opportunity in 1990 but in the end Tarom went with the A310, partly as the Airbuses were available sooner.
Further south in Bulgaria Boeing did get another customer for its 767-200 from Balkan Bulgarian, however the aircraft were not purchased. Instead they were leased from Air France, which had acquired the pair of 767-27Es as part of its takeover of UTA since they were owned by the UTA subsidiary Aeromaritime. The aircraft kept their French registrations and were initially to be used to compete with the private start-up Jes Air, which used A310s to New York (and later Ottawa, Melbourne, Singapore, Ho Chi Minh City and Dubai).
Balkan struggled through the 1990s as its home nation transitioned to a market economy whilst the Yugoslav conflict and corruption inflicted further damage. Nonetheless the 767s survived in the fleet until mid-1998 when upon return to Air France they were sold to EL AL. Balkan survived messily until October 2002.
Although the national airlines of the Warsaw Pact nations have all struggled to varying degrees, so that only CSA, LOT and Tarom have survived, none of them chose unwisely with their usage of A310s or 767s. Fundamentally the challenges the airlines faced in a post-Cold War world were far larger than the choice of Airbus or Boeing and the aircraft themselves performed well overall.
1995, November. More than a fleet gain? Flight International
Moxon, J. 2000 April. Malev to shake up fleet. Flight International
Malev Chapter 6: 1990-1999. Utopia Airport
1990, Feb. Ceausescu had a tight grip on National airline. Joc.com
1990, July. Airbus beats Boeing in Tarom update. Flight International
I'm Richard Stretton: a fan of classic airliners and airlines who enjoys exploring their history through my collection of die-cast airliners. If you enjoy the site please donate whatever you can to help keep it running: