Secret Services Probe "Strange" Hungarian Aircraft Breakdownsgreenspun.com : LUSENET : Grassroots Information Coordination Center (GICC) : One Thread
Secret Services Probe "Strange" Hungarian Aircraft Breakdowns
BUDAPEST, Oct 12, 2000 -- (Agence France Presse) Hungary's intelligence services are investigating possible sabotage after an unusually high number of faults have developed in aircraft of the state Malev Airlines, a media report said Thursday.
The mass-circulation Nepszava daily newspaper said several aircraft developed an above average number of faults in "strange circumstances" over the past few months and said experts were looking into possible sabotage.
Neither Malev nor the secret services would comment on the report.
The transport ministry's air traffic control department said it was not aware of any probe but communications director Gyoergy Petoe said "it is unlikely the secret services would tell us if there was such an investigation."
The series of defects have caused delays for both state leaders' official flights as well as normal passenger services of the airline which is due for partial privatization.
On Tuesday, Foreign Minister Janos Martonyi had to take a Polish LOT Airlines flight to a Warsaw meeting of central-east European foreign ministers after two Malev planes he could have used developed faults.
Prime Minister Viktor Orban has also been victim to similar incidents. In October last year a delay almost made Orban miss a London connection for a flight to Ottawa. Several Malev leaders were sacked after the incident.
In June he was delayed 80 minutes for an official visit to London after his plane broke down. In July a Malev flight from Paris was delayed because of a bomb scare.
Nepszava reported that since mid July "virtually no day has passed without the breakdown of at least one Malev plane."
Company officials insist the breakdowns are nothing more than a series of "coincidences" but have pledged to investigate.
Malev's 25-strong fleet is made up of five different types of aircraft, including five aged Soviet-built Tu-154's which it wants to ground.
"The large number of different planes is in itself a burden," Malev general manager Ferenc Kovacs said recently.
The cash-strapped airline expects to be partially privatised this month with a 46.8 percent stake being offered publicly. ((c) 2000 Agence France Presse)
-- Doris (email@example.com), October 15, 2000