Passenger and freight traffic at Ferenc Liszt International Airport continue to rise, according to the latest figures released by the operator.
Speaking at a conference organized in association with the Budapest Airport Region Cluster (BARC) and the Hungarian Investment Promotion Agency (HIPA), Gábor Szarvas, director for community affairs and environment at Budapest Airport Zrt. (BUD), said passenger numbers are expected to rise to 12 million in 2017, representing an annual growth rate that out performs most European airports.
Szarvas commented that if the growth rates continue at this pace, passenger numbers could reach 14 million by 2021. Last year, close to 100,000 tons of cargo traffic was transported through the airport and this, too, is expected to be exceeded this year.
The hope is that Ferenc Liszt International Airport, which today has 124 flight destinations with 43 airlines, will become a regional hub to rival Vienna Airport; the latter currently has around double the passenger numbers.
Szarvas stressed that the passenger and logistics infrastructure is being upgraded in order to facilitate further growth in airport traffic that will also benefit the surrounding region. An agreement was signed to further continue cooperation between BUD and BARC. The improvement of transport links between the airport and the center of Budapest and regional cities is seen as central to this.
BUD helped established BARC in conjunction with city municipalities, firms in the airport area and HIPA, to develop the airport infrastructure and the surrounding area into what it defines as “a smart and sustainable airport city and region”. The declared aim is to enhance the profile of the airport and strengthen its competitiveness in the CEE region. Airports are seen as “vital infrastructure that have a clear impact on their regions”.
In response to the positive figures, the circa EUR 160 million BUD 2020 development scheme will deliver 27 new boarding gates and ten new passenger bridges on a 10,000 sqm area with a proposed completion date of fall 2018. A third terminal, Terminal 2C, is planned with a proposed delivery of around 2020-2021.
BUD has undertaken development of a 13,000 sqm built-to-suit logistics base for DHL Express that is due to be completed this summer, employing 300 staff. Another 12,500 sqm logistics facility for TNT is also due this summer. Further, the first phase of Cargo City is planned to deliver a 20,000 sqm cargo handling facility in the second quarter of 2018. A second, longer term phase will deliver logistics forwarding facility and offices.
As reported in our June 2 issue, Wing has topped out the first hotel at the airport, the ibis Styles Budapest Airport Hotel, which is due to open in December.
Szarvas argues that an improvement in transport links is central to improving the airport infrastructure. The government is planning to redevelop the road link between Budapest and the airport, which is currently not capable of handling well the weight of traffic to and from the airport. The design for the state-financed development could be completed this year. There are also plans for a high-speed railway link between the airport and the center of Budapest, and thence on to regional cities. The airport itself has the capacity for further traffic growth and development with its two operating runways.