Sólyom Hungarian Airways (HUN, Budapest) will launch its first charter flights next month and scheduled flights from early October, the company's chief executive József Vágó said on Sunday. Speaking in Budapest during a presentation of the carrier's first aircraft, a B737-500, HA-SHA (msn 25065), to the public, Mr Vágó said the new airline plans to fill the void left by Malev (MA, Budapest) and intends to expand its fleet to 50 or more aircraft in the coming years. Despite media speculation as to the carrier's long-term viability given the strong presence of Ryanair (FR, Dublin Int'l) and Wizz Air (W6, Budapest) in the Eastern European market, Mr Vágó said Solyom had the strong backing of unnamed Arab businessmen and would press ahead with plans to launch charter flights next month with an initial fleet of six aircraft leased from British lessor, the European Aviation Group. Scheduled flights will start in early October with the fleet growing to 12 aircraft by year end. From next year, Solyom wants to add flights to North America and China, said Mr Vágó.