Passenger traffic low, cargo volume rising at Budapest Airport


Image by Budapest Airport/Róbert Baranyi

Passenger traffic at Budapest Airport fell to 183,416 in Q1 2021, down 93.4% compared to the same period of 2020, according to a press release sent to the Budapest Business Journal.

The airport notes that January and February 2020 were the last two months when passenger traffic was relatively unaffected by the coronavirus pandemic. In January-March 2020, passenger traffic at Ferenc Liszt International stood at 2,775,390

On the other hand, cargo volume at the airport increased by 19.3% year-on-year in January-March 2021. The airport handled 39,529 tons of cargo, which constitutes the strongest quarter ever in its history. Moreover, the 14,904 tons registered in March is the highest monthly cargo traffic ever at Budapest Airport.

Budapest Airport says that it is doing everything it can to rebuild traffic to the 2019 level as soon as possible, but this is primarily dependent on the travel regulations introduced by the various countries, the availability and efficiency of vaccines and the level of inoculation. The operator (with the involvement of its airline and ground handling partners) is drawing up plans including several different scenarios on how the airport will operate safely in practical terms, from a healthcare perspective as well, even with a high level of passenger traffic.

Some airlines have already announced the list of flights to be launched in 2021 and frequency increases on existing routes. Ryanair is launching five new flights from July, to Burgas, Rhodes, Sofia, Bologna and Zadar, and is significantly increasing the frequency on numerous routes. Wizz Air has added the city of Chania to its Budapest schedule, as a new destination. easyJet is increasing the frequency of its Budapest-Paris flights, and will also operate to Basel twice a week. Qatar Airways is increasing the frequency on its Doha-Budapest flight, and the Emirates service to Dubai will also operate more frequently. Lufthansa has announced the relaunch of its Munich flight, while the TAROM service between Budapest and Bucharest and the Budapest-Paris flight by Air France are also available again.

“We are delighted to see that the vaccination of the population is progressing at an adequate rate globally, and especially in Hungary. The gradual reopening of Hungary and the other countries gives us hope that aviation passenger traffic will recover soon as well. Budapest Airport and all those working at the airport are excited to be able to soon welcome back moderate levels of passengers,” highlighted Chris Dinsdale, CEO of Budapest Airport. “As an airport operator, our task and responsibility is to be fully prepared for scenarios in the coming period, and to create safe, secure and healthy conditions for travelers going forward,” he added.

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