BUD cargo ends 2020 with record traffic in Q4


Image by Budapest Airport

Budapest Airport handled a total of 134,459 tons of air cargo last year and registered a record quarter at the end of 2020, dealing with 38,868 tons of air cargo in Q4.

Ferenc Liszt International Airport handled 6,118 air cargo flights last year, 17.6% more than in 2019. Cargo volume fell only a 0.8% decrease from last year, according to a press release sent to the Budapest Business Journal. Cargo charter flights transporting medical equipment and other healthcare supplies accounted for approximately 6% of last year’s cargo traffic, which meant handling around 350 dedicated flights in 2020. 

"The fact that cargo traffic at Budapest Airport remained stable during this extraordinary year is attributable to the exemplary perseverance of the cargo community. It is our strong intention to maintain the organizing and supporting role of the airport in this work," said Rolf Schnitzler, the CEO of Budapest Airport. "It takes numerous players, precise coordination and a strong base like the BUD Cargo City to handle the cargo traffic of the airport. We remain committed to continuously developing air cargo and the BUD Cargo City; in 2021, we will commence preparations for the second phase, the design and construction of more cargo handling facilities, warehouses, and offices."

József Kossuth, cargo manager for Budapest Airport noted, "We have numerous other development projects underway, including, for example, supporting digitization needs required for the work of the cargo community, or the introduction in Hungary of the IATA (International Air Transport Association) CEIV Pharma certification system for the aerial transportation of pharmaceutical products, which is in the implementation phase. We believe that the airport and the BUD Cargo City will serve as a world-class, efficient, and sustainable cargo gateway to Central and Eastern Europe, and will continue to support the national economy.”

Due to the coronavirus and its economic impacts, the proportion of exports and imports shifted from the previous 50-50% to 40-60% in the first half of 2020, and then normalized at 45-55% by the end of the year, the airport notes.

The airport says that cargo traffic has also been transformed over the course of 2020, with the sudden loss of long haul, wide-body airliners bringing about the disappearance of their lower-deck cargo capacity as well.

Market demand was therefore primarily satisfied by dedicated cargo flights, the press release notes. In this respect, LOT’s weekly passenger flight to Seoul and the two Emirates flights per week to Dubai brought significant cargo capacities back during the second half of the year. The traffic of the integrator companies (DHL Express, FedEx (TNT Express), UPS) grew further at the airport in 2020.

Budapest Airport celebrated the launch of three new dedicated cargo flights in 2020; Korean Air launched a cargo service to Seoul, Cargolux to Shenzhen and Hainan Airlines to Zhengzhou. Turkish Cargo chose the BUD Cargo City as its Central and Eastern European hub in 2020, and, in parallel, increased the number of its flights to four a week. Qatar Airways Cargo announced at the end of the year that it will operate with a larger aircraft type, the Boeing 777, going forward.

The airport says that it expects the launch of additional new cargo routes in the near future, including already in 2021.

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