Budapest Airport takes steps to protect staff, passengers


Budapest Airport says that it has prepared for the various scenarios of the coronavirus pandemic, implementing necessary mitigation measures to protect passengers and employees. The airport is hoping for a quick recovery of passenger traffic after the end of the crisis.

Budapest Airport Zrt., the operator of Ferenc Liszt International Airport, has reviewed the possible future scenarios, and is even prepared for a temporary complete halt to passenger traffic, according to a press release.

The airport is now suffering a near-total halt to passenger traffic on account of the coronavirus pandemic. Since the beginning of the pandemic, more than a million seats have been lost from Budapest Airport’s schedule, and the few flights that are still operational are transporting up to 90% fewer passengers than in the same period of 2019. Furthermore, the operator expects most passenger flights to be suspended as a result of government measures in both Hungary and around the globe.

"The coronavirus has dealt a huge blow to the entire aviation industry, bringing airports and airlines alike to a grinding halt," comments Rolf Schnitzler, the CEO of Budapest Airport. "Since January, 5700 flights, more than 1.1 million seats have already disappeared from Budapest Airportʼs schedule as of today. Nevertheless, the airport continues to operate safely, as we have to ensure that those who would like to return home to Hungary or to other countries can travel.

"Additionally, cargo traffic must be maintained in the interest of all Hungarians. It is imperative that cargo flights should continue to operate, with indispensable supplies, such as medical or pharmaceutical products on board. As airport operator, we are now also working on mitigation measures, and I am hopeful that after the pandemic has died down, we will once again be able to focus on growth and our developments," Schnitzler adds.

Budapest Airport hopes that an upturn will materialize quickly, once the pandemic has died down, while also counting with the possibility that some of the traffic will be lost for a longer period of time. 

The company currently offers airlines discounted long-term parking for aircraft taken out of operation during the reduction of capacities, looking to help solving the airline industry’s logistics challenges.

According to the press release, the airport has to introduce certain originally unplanned measures, defer certain projects and expenditure and to introduce cost-saving actions. Preparations are in progress, aiming to ensure a reboot soon after the crisis, while protecting as many jobs as possible, for example by offering employees to go on standby leave (still receiving a basic income) or reduce to part-time work.

Budapest Airport says that it ensures the safety of employees with individual protective equipment and disinfectants, and the introduction of more frequent disinfectant cleaning in passenger circulation areas, offices, training rooms, and the staff canteen.

In addition, the operator introduced temporary measures with regard to shift systems, working hours quotas, work during the individual shifts and the use of resting rooms. 

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