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Budapest Airport to lay off more than 200 people

Operator Budapest Airport says that a headcount reduction in the upcoming months is inevitable, because of the negative effects of the coronavirus pandemic on passenger traffic at Ferenc Liszt International Airport, according to a press release published on bud.hu.

Image by Budapest Airport

The expected annual passenger figure has decreased to the level last seen 17 years ago, and the airport operator expects a traffic shortfall of around 90% during the fall and winter months. Budapest Airport says that layoffs serve the purpose of ensuring the long-term efficient operation of the company and protecting remaining jobs.

The airport notes that the busiest airports in Europe have all registered a traffic reduction of around 70-90% since the outbreak of the pandemic. Based on the estimate of the International Air Transport Association (IATA), passenger traffic at the continentʼs airports will not reach the levels seen before the crisis during the next few years either.

Traffic at Ferenc Liszt International Airport decreased by 99.3% in April compared to the same period in 2019. Although passenger numbers picked up slightly during the summer months, increasing to nearly 400,000 in August from the less than 10,000 registered in April, the new travel restrictions introduced in September once again reduced passenger traffic to the level seen at the beginning of the summer.

Currently, fewer than 3,000 passengers use the airport per day, which is 6% of the traffic recorded last September. Based on the expected additional flight cancelations and reduction in passenger traffic, Budapest Airport expects annual passenger traffic to be around 5.5 million this year, one-third of their initial plan. 

The press release notes that Budapest Airport’s 2020 business plan, prepared before the coronavirus pandemic, will not be fulfilled. The company has lost virtually all of its revenues on account of the near-complete halt in aviation seen over the past few months. It has therefore introduced numerous cost-cutting measures since the spring.

During the redundancy implemented in May, Budapest Airport expected a faster traffic recovery. It therefore planned headcount according to the annual passenger figure of 10 million expected at that time, took all possible employer measures, and participated in the government’s wage support program, to protect as many jobs as possible.

Layoffs expected to affect 236 people

However, as the travel restrictions valid from September are expected to drastically reduce passenger traffics at the airport in the upcoming months. This means that the airport operator will be unable to maintain its current employee headcount, and will therefore implement another reduction, expected to affect 236 people.

Budapest Airport says that it will only spend financial resources absolutely necessary for the safe operation of the airport, reducing the number of investments, and reallocating existing funds for core operations and salaries. Still, the operator notes that the financing of the company is ensured thanks to the responsible financial management of recent years.

The press release notes that the For The Employees Of The BUD Group Foundation continues to welcome applications for support from current or former employees in need, whose physical or mental health or social security is threatened by the coronavirus epidemic.