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BAA to cut jobs, lower fees in Budapest

BAA Plc, the world's largest airport operator, plans to cut jobs and sell businesses at Budapest's international hub to reduce some of Europe's highest landing fees and attract new carriers, newswire Bloomberg reported.

The company, which in December paid ₤1.26 billion (Ft 464 billion) for 75% of Budapest Airport Zrt, aims to trim the 2,500 airport workforce by 18% over the next three years, Chris Woodruff, the airport's chief executive officer, said. “It's clear internally and externally that we've got to bring airport charges down by becoming much more efficient,” Woodruff said in an interview.
Traffic at Budapest's Ferihegy airport has soared since Hungary joined the European Union in 2004, with 23% growth last year and low-cost airlines such as EasyJet Plc and Sky Europe Holding AG adding routes. At the same time, BAA estimates fees are 20% higher than at Prague's Ruzyne International Airport and Woodruff said reducing costs is key to further growth.
BAA also plans to sell Budapest's refueling, ground handling and airport shuttle bus services, said Woodruff, who formerly worked as BAA's operations director at London's Heathrow International Airport.