Jost Lammers also highlighted that Budapest Airport had been able to demonstrate last year – experiencing record levels of traffic – how significant the potential of the company was for the economy and tourism in particular. The airport had 8.9 million passengers last year with ATMs reaching 110 000, and the ultra-modern SkyCourt was opened in T2 which has received a number of international awards.
Malév’s grounding, however, broke the previous momentum, and although as a result of close cooperation of the airport with airlines the serving of quite a number of destinations was commenced by other carriers quickly while others increased their flight frequencies and capacities, Budapest Airport has been put at a disadvantage in the regional competition between Vienna and Prague. Currently, for instance, six times as many flights depart for Russia or Turkey from Vienna and Prague than from Budapest. Meanwhile, four months after Malév’s collapse no carriers have been designated to take over routes previously served by the national airline including important destinations such as Moscow, Kiev, Tel Aviv, or Istanbul. Due to this, about 200 000 passengers are lost for Budapest and Hungarian tourism this year alone.
Kam Jandu, aviation director of Budapest Airport noted that additional regional destinations still exist which would be worthwhile to connect with Budapest. For instance, a Romanian carrier recently failed to receive its operational license even though it would be willing to launch new flights from the Hungarian capital overnight. Kam Jandu also pointed out that in the traffic mix of Budapest Airport low-cost carriers increased their share from 26% last year to 51% this year. Mr. Jandu indicated that the airport continues to make every effort to attract additional airlines to Budapest to launch new flights to and from the Hungarian capital.
It was also stated at the press briefing that the last flights from Terminal 1 will depart in the evening of 29 May 2012, and the morning flights of all airlines including easyJet, Germanwings, Jet2.com, Norwegian, and Wizz Air will already depart from Terminal 2 the following morning, Wednesday, 30 May. The passengers of these carriers will be checking in at T2B and will arrive at T2A from Schengen countries and at T2B from non-Schengen countries. Regarding the closure of Terminal 1, information can be found on the website and Facebook page of Budapest Airport, at train stations, and at the stops of bus 200E. From the morning of 30 May, the orientation of passengers will be assisted by bilingual (Hungarian/English) public address announcements on trains and on board public transport buses.