Budapest Airport, operator of Ferenc Liszt International Airport (BUD), hosted a Chinese logistics and investment delegation for a one-day logistics forum focusing on cooperation and e-commerce, ahead of the launch of a new direct flight between Hungary and China due this summer.
As reported earlier, Shanghai Airlines, in partnership with China Eastern Airlines, is set to launch a thrice-weekly passenger route with belly cargo services between Budapest Airport and Shanghai Pudong Airport (PVG) from June 7.
The Chinese delegation received by the airport included representatives of the Shanghai Cross-border E-commerce Association (SCEA), and Invest Shanghai, among others. The tour was organized by the Hungarian Investment Promotion Agency (HIPA) and the Consulate General of Hungary in Shanghai, according to a press release sent to the Budapest Business Journal.
"This year marks the 70th anniversary of establishing diplomatic relations between Hungary and China, and launching a direct flight between Budapest and Shanghai will provide further impetus in enhancing relations in all fields, especially tourism and logistics," said Szilárd Bolla, Consul General of Hungary in Shanghai.
"I see a great business demand for the cargo capacity of this newly established flight we have been working on for a long time, and I believe there is a strong potential for Budapest to become a regional logistics hub for Chinese enterprises," Bolla added. "This forum provided a great opportunity to show this potential to important Chinese industry players."
Eastern Air Logistics, managing cargo on behalf of China Eastern Airlines, which is the parent company of Shanghai Airlines, took part in the discussions as well.
"We warmly welcome Budapest as our newest online destination within Europe," said Li Jiupeng, CEO of Eastern Air Logistics Co., Ltd. (EAL), chairman of the board of China Cargo Airlines and chairman of the SCEA. "We are confident that this will be a valuable addition to our network, which will act as the major air cargo linkage between Shanghai and Hungary."
During the workshop, the delegation also visited the airportʼs cargo facilities, including the site of a dedicated air cargo facility which is set for completion in Q4 2019.
"There are a lot of opportunities ahead of us and we are proud to announce that in the space of only a year, we will be able to open a state-of-the-art 35,000 square-meter air cargo facility called BUD Cargo City at Budapest Airport," said René Droese, director of Property and Cargo at Budapest Airport.
"We see more and more interest among Hungarian export-oriented sectors like the automotive, pharmaceutical, and electronics industries in the development of air cargo in Hungary, and it is our mission to support this drive with further developments," Droese continued. "We strongly believe in our great potential for more air cargo capacities between Budapest, Shanghai and other Chinese logistics gateways," he added.
Last year, BUD processed 146,113 tonnes of air cargo, showing a year-on-year growth rate of 14.9%. Since 2015, the volume has increased by 60%.