Budapest Airport (BUD) recorded a significant, double-digit increase in processed freight last year, setting a new all-time record in air cargo, with 146,113 tons arriving and departing at the Central European hub, according to a press release sent to the Budapest Business Journal.
The new number represents a 14.9% increase over the 2017 figure, when the amount of cargo processed came to 127,145 tons.
"These latest figures are exciting as they represent three years of uninterrupted double-digit growth at the airport," said René Droese, director for property and cargo at Budapest Airport. "We are focussing all our efforts to make good use of the ideal conditions in Budapest and turn Liszt Ferenc International Airport into a major cargo logistics hub for the Central and Eastern European region."
To achieve this, Droese said, Budapest Airport is establishing appropriate technical, security, and traffic conditions.
"The relevant projects entered the phase of implementation last year, and we can successfully complete them this year," he explained. "As a first step, we handed over a 16,000 sqm new cargo warehouse and office capacity for our integrator partners in 2017; their traffic has been constantly developing for years."
Currently, work is underway on the new EUR 32.6 million Cargo City freight center project, which is expected to grow the airportʼs total cargo processing capacity to a quarter of a million tons per year. The development of a 10,000 sqm forwarder building is also in progress, with a new cargo apron of 32,000 sqm near Runway 2, capable of servicing two Boeing B-747-8F freighters, under construction.
"The combined value of this development effort in 2019 reaches EUR 46 mln, and is financed by Budapest Airport itself," noted Droese. "Our goal is to deliver, by the end of this year, an ideal cargo infrastructure for all segments of our well-balanced customer portfolio, for full freighters, belly cargo, integrators, and road feeder trucking too."
Rising demand is illustrated by the fact that last year a number of wide-body and jumbo freighters were loaded at the airport each day, noted Droese, adding that these included Boeing B-747s operated by Cargolux, AirBridgeCargo, and Silk Way West, and Airbus A300s, A310s and A330s used by Turkish Cargo and Qatar Airways Cargo.
BUD Cargo says that its main target markets are in Asia, especially China, Korea and Japan, and in North America with a focus on the U.S. and Canada. The airport reasons that these regions provide a quickly growing export/import flow within BUDʼs cargo catchment zone, especially in the automotive, electronics, pharmaceutical, and e-commerce sectors.
"Our cargo team is working hard on conferences and workshops from China to the U.S., to present the potential of Budapest Airport Cargo in the Central and Eastern European region," noted Droese. "The cargo business has strategic importance for our airport, and we handle our cargo projects with high priority."
Between 2015 and 2018, the airportʼs cargo volumes grew by more than 60%, the press release added.