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Budapest airport sees growing cargo activity

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With growing cargo capacities at Budapest’s Liszt Ferenc Airport, the construction of a new dedicated air cargo base is under way that could be handed over in 2018, operator Budapest Airport said yesterday in a press statement sent to the Budapest Business Journal.

The monthly cargo volume handled in the capital’s airport reached record highs in September, exceeding 10,000 tons for the first time, representing more than 33% growth compared to the same month in 2015. Annual cargo volume is expected to be more than 100,000 tons by the end of the year. 

The current growth has been boosted by several factors, Budapest Airport explains. “Qatar Airways Cargo’s flight twice a week as of this March, (and three times a week from October 7, meant a real boost for turnover, but the two other major cargo carriers with a presence in the Budapest market – Cargolux and Turkish Cargo – have also show strong performance. Airlines carrying so-called belly cargo on passenger flights (extra cargo in addition to baggage in the cargo compartment) are also important players.”

Emirates, for instance, deployed a larger aircraft to serve the daily Dubai-Budapest flight as of last December, and the belly cargo compartment of the Boeing 777 can accommodate as much as 20 tons of cargo in both directions, plus the passengers aboard. On the Beijing flights of Air China a record volume of belly cargo was carried during September, and the Toronto flight of Air Canada Rouge has also been successful in this respect, the press statement says.

The combined performance of integrators is another factor contributing to the recent cargo growth. Loaded courier services leave Budapest during the night for major distribution hubs in Western Europe and return with new cargo as early as dawn, the operator explains. Couriers such as DHL, TNT, UPS, and FedEx traditionally move a large share of thecargo moving through Budapest, and DHL has been satisfying growing demand with a second aircraft daily as of this summer, according to the press statement.

Cargo City under construction 

Thanks to increasing volumes, the construction of a new dedicated air cargo base, dubbed Cargo City, becomes even more important and is expected to be completed in 2018 at the earliest once the design, permitting, and preparatory phases have been completed, Budapest Airport says.

“We are working hard on commencing the development of Cargo City, negotiating with potential tenants who may start or continue their activities in a state-of-the-art air cargo facility within two years, replacing the infrastructure currently used by them,” says René Droese, Property Director of Budapest Airport.

He notes that traditional air cargo volume has been “spectacularly” high, while courier operators have also been experiencing growth.Therefore, the director says, new developments in the area are inevitable as “the uplift in air cargo so far this year in Budapest is flying”.

Until the handover of the new base, enhancements of current capacities will be implemented, adds Droese,to ensure that the airport can satisfy higher demand and handle growing volumes. Çelebi, the operator handling the highest volume of air cargo, will take up a further 2,000 sqm of warehouse capacities. Handling of exports will be supported by both the enhanced environment and increased cargo screening capacity, Budapest Airport adds.

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