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State to Decide on Developments at Ferenc Liszt Int'l Airport

Government

Image by Budapest Airport/Róbert Baranyi

The state of Hungary, as a financial and a strategic investor, will decide on developments at Ferenc Liszt International Airport, National Economy Minister Márton Nagy said at a press conference in the capital on Tuesday, according to a report by state news wire MTI.

A month earlier, the state acquired an 80% stake in Ferenc Liszt operator Budapest Airport, partnering with French airport company Vinci which took a 20% stake.

Nagy said financing possibilities for infrastructure developments necessary to expand the airport were being weighed, but planning had to start as soon as possible for a third terminal to open in 2032. A timeframe for planning and implementation will be ready by the fall, he added.

He said financing for the developments would not be "exclusively a fiscal task", adding that a concession arrangement could be considered and noted that the cost of rail and road developments alone would exceed EUR 1 bln.

A third owner could participate in the projects, but their stake would be under 10%, he said. 

Nagy said completing developments at the airport could boost annual passenger traffic to 20 mln by the end of the decade.

He named Qatar's sovereign wealth fund as a potential third owner, adding that the state of Hungary and VINCI would take a decision together on the matter.

He said the state's share of the EUR 3.1 bln purchase price for Budapest Airport had come to EUR 2.48 bln, which was covered in equal part by budget funding, credit from Magyar Eximbank, and proceeds from the sale of state-owned assets. He added that a consortium of lenders had extended EUR 1.44 bln in credit taken out by the previous owner.

Vinci chief Nicolas Notebaert said the airport operator could bring new flights to Budapest, capitalizing on its "outstanding ties" with airlines.

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