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September passenger count rises 2.3%, Budapest Airport says

BAA Plc.'s Budapest Airport Zrt increased passenger numbers by 2.3% last month, a fall from previous months after anti-government protests in the Hungarian capital dented passenger numbers. Some 841,031 passengers passed through the airport in September after record numbers in the previous two months, the company said in a statement today. Traffic rose 7.2% to 8.3 million people for the year ended September 30. Traffic at Budapest's Ferihegy International Airport jumped after budget carriers including EasyJet Plc. and Wizz Air Ltd. began flying to the country following its EU entry in May 2004. In September, demonstrations in Budapest calling for the resignation of Hungarian Prime Minister Ferenc Gyurcsány lowered the number of tourists arriving. “Due to the street riots and political events in September, the number of guests nights dropped in Budapest hotels, and we believe several tourists didn't come to Hungary, which can explain the less-than-expected growth rate,” CEO Stewart Wingate said in the statement. BAA, the world's largest airport operator, also operates seven UK airports and others in Italy and Australia. Grupo Ferrovial SA, BAA's Spanish owner, is about to sell the airport to Germany's Hochtief AG, 10 months after BAA bought it for £1.3 billion ($2.2 billion), the Daily Telegraph reported today. (Bloomberg)