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Tender for airport-city rapid rail line could be called by Q3 2007

Preparations are being made for a rapid rail link between Ferihegy Airport's Terminal 2 and Keleti Station in the centre of Budapest; a tender for the line could be called by Q3 2007, after all of the necessary permits are obtained.

The line is expected to cost Ft 35-40 billionn at current prices to build, László Mosoczi said. MÁV calculates the line can be operated profitably if Ferihegy's passenger numbers reach 10 million a year, and 60% of these use the rail line. About 8.3 million passengers used the airport in the twelve months to October, according to figures from airport operator Budapest Airport. In a separate project, work on a rapid rail line between the terminal and Nyugati Station, one of Budapest's other train stations, has already started and it will be in operation next spring. The line uses existing track, but requires the construction of a platform and pedestrian bridge along with the updating of the existing rail link. The tender for this project was won by France's Colas. The project will cost €21.3 million, and half of the cost will be covered by EU funds. The project has been delayed about two months because of changes necessary to meet EU technical requirements. Budapest Airport said earlier it would complete a parking lot and a road junction at Terminal 1 by the end of the year.

Budapest Airport handled 739,908 passengers in October, 1.5% or 10,860 more than in the same month in 2005. For the 12 months to October 2006, total passenger traffic reached 8,288 million, which corresponds to a 6% rise over the same period last year. The number of traditional passengers totaled in 509,448, a 7.6% rise on October 2005. In the 12 months to end-October, Budapest Airport registered 5,416 million traditional passengers, up 10.5% year-on-year. The number of low-cost passengers reached 191,497, 4.9% less than a year earlier. For the 12 months to October 2006, Ferihegy handled 2.220 million low-cost passengers, a 0.5% decrease on the same period last year. The number of air transport movements recorded a 1.6% increase on last year in October 2006, and totaled 11,244 movements. In the 12 months to October 2006, Ferihegy handled 127,944 air transport movements, a rise of 1.1% on the same period last year. "October traffic at Ferihegy showed continued growth, but the demonstrations and violent disturbances in October continued to impact inbound tourism. We hope that tourists will be attracted back by the forthcoming Winter Invasion tourism campaign, in which Budapest Airport has a major role," Budapest Airport CEO, Stewart Wingate has commented. (Mti-Eco,