Budapest has handled 6,770 tonnes of air cargo every month so far in 2016, and while the Hungarian capital city’s turnover is increasing dynamically, the cargo industry throughout Europe has not seen such development. A growth of only 2.7% was recorded on the continent in May, while cargo volumes declined on the American continent and in Africa. The 11.3% growth rate at Budapest Airport from the beginning of the year is unparalleled just about anywhere; among major international hubs, Hong Kong actually reported -1.1%, Frankfurt -1.7%, and Beijing -5.1%.
A large contributing factor in the growth of cargo volume in Budapest was the re-launch of Qatar Cargo this March. The carrier’s Airbus A330F can carry as much as 60 tonnes of goods to Doha on a single flight, and onwards, to almost any point on the globe via the network of Qatar Airways. Additionally, cargo airlines such as Luxembourg-based Cargolux and Turkish Cargo which have been operating in Budapest for a long time, also continued to put in a strong performance.
“Long-haul passenger flights contributed significantly to the volume uplift too, for example the Beijing flight of Air China or the Toronto flight operated by Air Canada Rouge,” said József Kossuth, Cargo Development Manager, Budapest Airport. He added: “It is also an indication of the performance of the Hungarian economy that on the Air China flight to Beijing almost the full cargo compartment is booked, which means 10-12 tonnes per flight. According to our forecasts, all conditions are pointing towards Budapest evolving into the air cargo hub of Eastern Europe within a short period of time.”
Based on traffic forecasts – as part of the 50-billion-HUF development program BUD 2020 – Budapest Airport has commenced construction of a new logistics base right next to Terminal 1 for one of the major European parcel services. Physical construction is underway; the value of the project is close to HUF three billion. In addition, Budapest is preparing for the construction of a new air cargo base – the so-called Cargo City – in the close proximity of Terminal 2, towards Vecsés, where warehouse and office capacity for handling up to 200,000 tonnes per annum is going to be implemented in the next few years.