Ferenc Liszt International Airport operator Budapest Airport has commenced construction of the first 20,000 sqm phase of Cargo City. The EUR 32 million logistics facility is part of a HUF 60 billion development program at the airport and is due to complete in the third quarter of 2019.
Some EUR 34 million has been invested into the infrastructure of the airport since 2007, which has seen a 27% growth in passenger numbers in the 2015-2017 period.
The airport currently operates 133 destinations with 46 airlines and there is the potential for as much as 150,000 tons of cargo to be transported in 2018, commented József Kossuth, cargo manager at Budapest Airport at the recent Digitrends/Logistics conference at the Hotel Gellért, organized by the Budapest Airport Region Cluster (BARC) and EIT Digital.
This initial phase of the project will be occupied by the carriers Qatar Cargo, Silk Way, Turkish Cargo, Carglux and AirBridgeCargo. A second phase will be used by freight forwarders. TNT, UPS, DHL and FedEx will continue to operate at the older Terminal 1 of the airport, where a further 32,000 sqm service area is being developed.
The Cargo City project was promoted at the recent Toronto forum where Budapest Airport exhibited jointly with cargo representatives from Düsseldorf and Hamburg.
All three airports are focusing on developing their cargo businesses on the basis that there are significant market opportunities in new cargo bases where there is the potential for growth in capacity, in contrast to traditional European hubs. The construction of Cargo City is seen as part of the strategy to make Hungary a major cargo hub for the Central & Eastern European region.
Cargo traffic has increased by almost 40% at Ferenc Liszt during the past two years, reaching 127,000 tons for 2017 according to the operator. In reaction to this growth in demand, Budapest Airport is constructing a 36,000 sqm concrete apron, enabling the concurrent handling of two giant Boeing B747-8F cargo aircraft, with a payload of 100 tons.
As part of the redevelopment scheme, two logistics centers of around 16,000 sqm were handed over to TNT and DHL Express last year, reflecting the increased demand for the handling of small express parcels and e-commerce.
Budapest is emerging as the leading Central European cargo hub, within reach of almost 20 countries according to René Droese, director of property and cargo for Budapest Airport.
“Cargo friendly airports, and particularly regional hubs, which often enjoy less congestion and more flexibility, have an important role to play in the future of airfreight,” he said.
“Our 24/7 operations allow us to cater for business all over the globe, and our continuous expansion means more businesses view us as the ideal location, with world-class facilities that are able to capitalize on this growth,” Droese added.
The operator established the Budapest Airport Region Cluster (BARC) in conjunction with local authorities to promote development of the airport and the surrounding districts. The Budapest Cluster sees the improvement of national and international road and rail transport and the creation of a network of modern logistics facilities as central to the development of the airport and the surrounding districts, bringing employment to area.