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Budapest Airport's November passenger traffic falls 4.2%

Budapest Airport, which Hochtief AG is buying from BAA Plc, said the number of passengers fell 4.2% in November from a year ago as tourist traffic to Hungary waned.

A total of 537,274 passengers passed through Hungary's biggest international airport in November, about half of the record 945,780 reached in August, the company said in an e-mailed statement yesterday. Traffic rose 4.8% to 8.3 million for the year ended November 30. Hungary's tourism industry took a hit when anti-government protests degenerated into riots in September and October.

„Passenger count at the Budapest airport was negatively affected by a decline in room bookings for Budapest hotels,” CEO Stewart Wingate said in the statement. „It's obvious that the fate of the airport and Hungarian tourism are intertwined.” Hochtief, Germany's biggest construction company said October 20 it plans to buy the airport from BAA Plc. less than a year after losing out in a bidding contest. BAA, acquired in June by Grupo Ferrovial SA, bought a 75%-stake in the airport from the Hungarian government a year ago for £1.26 billion ($2.5 million). (Bloomberg)