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Budapest Airport cuts passenger number projection by 2 mln

Liszt Ferenc International Airport operator Budapest Airport is cutting its passenger projection number for this year by 2 millionbecause of the grounding of troubled national carrier Malév, Budapest Airport communications director Mihály Hardy told MTI.

Budapest Airport targeted passenger numbers of 9.2 million before Malév was grounded, resulting in the “loss” of 1.5 million transfer passengers, Hardy said. Although several airlines that use the airport are launching new flights or expanding capacity, they still have not been able to completely fill the space left by Malév, forcing Budapest Airport to modify its passenger number projection, he added.

There are still ten destinations that were served only by Malév, and no airline has yet said it would fly to these cities, which include Belgrade, Skopje, Sarajevo and Beirut, he said. In the case of other destinations, several airlines have said they will launch flights in place of Malév, but these services will start only from the middle or the end of April, thus the period from February through April will be a weak one for Budapest Airport, he added.

Hardy said Lufthansa, Air Berlin, Aegean Airlines, Ryanair, SmartWings and Wizz Air are taking over 70-75% of Malév’s direct flight passenger capacity. But he said claims by low-fare airlines that they would add 2.5 million passengers to their Budapest capacity were “exaggerated”.

Budapest Airport said earlier it was cutting about 250 jobs, or 20-25% of headcount, and postponing more than €60 million of investments because of the grounding of Malév.