2013 may - june

Record numbers at Routes Europe 2013, Budapest *** Online parking at Budapest Airport *** Visitor terrace to reopen in the summer *** Budapest Airport bids final farewell to the tents at the basic boarding gates *** Renewed baggage trolley service *** Rotterdam-Budapest flight with Transavia *** Turkish delight: Wizz starts flights to Istanbul *** New Full Flight Simulator at BUD *** Summer fashion collections in SkyCourt *** To Sofia with Bulgaria Air *** El AL switches to Jumbo Jet *** Budapest Airport welcomes Wizz flight to Baku

Record numbers at Routes Europe 2013, Budapest

Budapest Airport was proud to host the biggest Routes Europe ever in May. Over 4,000 face to face meetings were conducted during the busy three-day event with 1,100 aviation delegates, 115 airlines, 350 airports and an impressive number of international exhibitors enjoying terrific networking in the SYMA sports centre and conference facility.

Monday night’s networking event and gala dinner was a great success too, hosted in the great building that was formerly Terminal 1. Some 1,000 guests enjoyed pre dinner drinks and sampled some Hungarian specialities on the ‘terminal forecourt’ before moving into the attractively furnished departures hall for a sumptuous buffet. As host’s, Budapest Airport were ineligible for the awards this year therefore Athens International was this year’s winner in the 4-20 million passenger category and in the under 4 million category was Aberdeen Airport, leaving this year’s overall European champion Munich Airport to take the trophy through to World Routes this year. Turismo de Tenerife scooped this year’s tourism marketing award.

Sunday’s Strategy Summit was the platform for 12 high-profile speakers from Europe. Routes chairperson Nigel Hayes asked them for their predictions over the next 12 months. Among the answers were that Berlin Brandenberg would still not be open and that Turkish Airlines would have an ownership change in the next year. Christian Schneider, CEO of Darwin Airline said that 44 new regional carriers started in the past five years, but 22 disappeared inside a year. There was also discussion on the rise of the Middle Eastern carriers with references to the Big Three - Star, OneWorld and Skyteam blurring with Emirates, Etihad and Qatar Airways. Vijay Poonoosamy, VP International & Public Affairs, Etihad Airways led a lively debate on Europe’s contentious emission trading scheme. “If the EU hadn’t stopped the clock, ETS would have cost the aviation industry € 3.5bn in 2012 and more every year after that,” he said, hitting out at the various national taxes on aviation in countries such as the UK and Germany. ELFAA Secretary General John Hanlon said that the reduced scope means that only 12.5% of European aviation emissions fall under EU ETS now. Asked for a show of hands on whether ICAO will actually come up with a solution on the issue by September, reaction showed that the whole debate has a long way to go before a successful resolution is reached.

Budapest Airport’s Jost Lammers and Kam Jandu gave a press conference on Monday and reflected on how it had to quickly respond to the collapse of its national carrier in February 2012. “We spent €100m on a new terminal (SkyCourt) and a year later our national airline went bust. Airports must be flexible today. The romantic model of the past is broken,” Kam Jandu said, noting it taught us to change our way of thinking. A new low-cost carrier came in and said for boarding and disembarkation we do not want a bridge, we do not want a bus, we wish to walk on and walk off - low-cost carriers are changing airport thinking in the way it does business.

Wizz Air CEO Jozsef Varadi, a former Malev executive himself, said “we all had a duty to work with the airport and re-establish customer confidence. The paradigm of how airlines and airports used to be set up is changing. Budapest represents those changes and this shows there is life beyond national airlines.”

There are still some markets that are not fully recovered since Malev’s demise, said Jost Lammers. The goal now is to close the white spots on the map – more services from Spain, Germany, France – and New York, Toronto, Bangkok and China are on the wish list. Today, it offers 81 scheduled destinations, served by 35 airlines. In order to encourage more traffic the airport announced an incentive scheme for thin routes where airlines would qualify for a 50% reduction in charges for the first few years on routes operating with less than four frequencies per week

Next year, Routes Europe will be held in Marseille, France, an airport which experienced a 13% passenger growth this year, but delegates in Budapest were already planning for Las Vegas and the 19th World Routes – 5-8th October, 2013. Among confirmed speakers amongst the 300 CEOs expected are Qatar Airways’ Akbar Al Baker and Etihad’s James Hogan.

Pictures of the football tournament:

Pictures from the conference:

Pictures from the networking evening:

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Online parking at Budapest Airport

Budapest Airport has introduced an online parking system for all suitable car parks at the airport. The move is part of a program intended to develop the quality of parking products, and is expected to quickly become popular with passengers due to the discounts provided.

The introduction of the new parking system involves the Terminal, Business, Holiday and Holiday Plus car parks, but not the Premium car park located on the kerbside of the terminal building as this car park is intended for ultra-short stay parkers. The new method is designed for over 24 hours parking. With online parking, it is possible to book and pay for parking using a computer or smartphone, at least 24 hours prior to the planned time of departure – and that is all it takes. All drivers then have to do when they arrive at the car park is wait for the license plate recognition system to issue a ticket, and they are free to enter.

Passengers have a wide range of parking products to choose from to suit their travel plans and wallet. Following online payment, similarly to online airline bookings, they simply have to print out the confirmation bearing a barcode. This is needed as backup, to make sure that the system will work in case the license plate is difficult to read in winter weather. The significant online discounts provided by Budapest Airport take into account the date of travel and the utilization of the car parks, ensuring that conditions are adjusted to passengers’ travel habits.

“I am confident that motorists will quickly take to online parking at the airport,” said Manel Moreno, head of landside services of Budapest Airport. “Our aim is to establish a parking system that is tailored to passengers’ needs, and the online booking system is a significant element of this, which serves comfort and safety,” he added.

“We built our online parking system on the experiences of numerous other international airports,” emphasized Alan Bork, director consumer for Budapest Airport. “During the past years we have been continuously developing the parking system at the airport, and it has become more transparent, more flexible and much more modern. I am sure that during the summer peak season, many people will use this online service, which will be also available for travel agencies as a service to be provided to their customers,” he continued.

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Visitor terrace to reopen in the summer

From the middle of summer, visitors and aviation enthusiasts will once again be able to use the observation terrace located on the roof of Terminal 2A, after Budapest Airport commenced the security development required for the reopening of the facility. The works will take four weeks; then, once the usage permit has been received, the terrace will be opened to the public.

Renovation works on the roof terrace at Terminal 2A of Budapest Airport have commenced. The facility was closed years ago, prior to the construction of the SkyCourt and the modernization of Terminal 2, as this was the only location where the numerous mechanical devices and air conditioning units from the building could be stored during the works. However, reopening is only possible following reconstruction in accordance with the latest security regulations. This is very costly as a glass wall, similar to the one found on the visitor terrace at Terminal 1 must be constructed along the edge of the 1400-square-meter terrace, with security netting placed on top, in order to prevent, or at least make it difficult, to pass items into the closed and guarded area of the airport.

There was strong demand from aviation enthusiasts and the general public for the reopening of the terrace, which provides insight into the daily life of the airport. Budapest Airport sought to find a solution to the security developments required for reopening. Similarly to earlier periods, an entry fee, expected to be 400 HUF per occasion, will be charged, and visitors will not have to undergo security screening. The terrace will feature a designated smoking area, and a food and beverage outlet is also planned. According to the current concept, the terrace will be open 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

“This is great news for passengers and aviation enthusiasts, since a visitor terrace providing a glimpse into the hustle and bustle of the airport has been missing since the closure of Terminal 1,” said Alan Bork, director consumer for Budapest Airport. “I am pleased that we were finally able to commence the necessary security developments, and will soon be able to reopen the visitor terrace, much to the delight of the thousands of aviation enthusiasts,” he added.

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Budapest Airport bids final farewell to the tents at the basic boarding gates

As of this week, passengers departing from Terminal 2B are also able to use the basic boarding gates at Budapest Airport. The new system, designed to protect passengers from weather extremities, has been operating on the apron in front of Terminal 2A for more than a week.

No fewer than eight basic boarding gates have been established on the concrete at Budapest Airport for passengers departing to destinations within the Schengen zone from Terminal 2A. Up to now, five low-cost carriers, Wizz Air, Ryanair, easyJet, Jet2.com and Dutch airline Transavia have opted to use this method for boarding. This week another light-frame hall with four gates has been opened on the apron of the non-Schengen terminal, T2B.

In the wake of the bankruptcy of the Hungarian national carrier Malév, Budapest Airport was forced to close Terminal 1 at the end of May last year, and reshaped boarding procedures at Terminal 2 in line with the changing needs of its airline partners. Walk on, walk off procedures greatly reduce the turnaround times of flights; for example, low-cost carriers are able to launch a new flight within 30 minutes of arrival. This improves punctuality and leads to a reduction in operating cost, which, in turn, results in lower ticket prices.

“The experiences of the first days’ operation show that both passengers and airlines have quickly adapted to the new gates, making them a big success,” said Kam Jandu, aviation director for Budapest Airport. “This improved method of boarding is a giant leap forward in comfort in comparison to last year, and improves the passenger experience while waiting for their flights close to the aircraft. We have seen a significant improvement in the departure punctuality of airlines in connection with the introduction of the basic boarding gates, and look forward to continuously supporting the five airlines utilizing them for their passengers,” he added.

The new boarding method is available to all airlines, but experiences show that it is primarily used by low-cost carriers. It serves to expand the range of airport services as airlines, depending on their profiles, now have a choice of boarding by air jetty, busing and walk on, walk off procedures via the basic boarding gates. On average, passengers wait 10-20 minutes in the new light-frame halls prior to boarding. Restrooms are available next to the halls, which will soon be fitted with ventilation and cooling during the summer and heating during the winter for added comfort. The temporary tents used until the completion of the halls have already been dismantled.

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Renewed baggage trolley service

As of 15 May 2013, Budapest Airport is replacing all of its baggage trolleys, and is introducing a completely new system with regard to this service.

Instead of the old, worn-down baggage trolleys, much reduced in number over the years, 300 brand new, modern trolleys with a new design will be installed at Terminal 2 of Budapest Airport. The new trolleys will be lightweight and of a more appropriate size, making them easier to maneuver.

Another new feature is that the baggage trolleys will be available to passengers in storage rails installed specifically for this purpose in four locations at the airport; in the baggage reclaim areas of Terminals 2A and 2B and in the Terminal Car Park, near the walkways leading to the terminal building. Similarly to numerous other airports, the use of baggage trolleys will operate in a rental system going forward. The dispenser machines placed next to the storage rails will only allow passengers to take a trolley once the rental fee has been paid. The fee for the use of baggage trolleys will be 300 HUF or 1 EUR. This revenue will ensure the continuous supply and maintenance of the trolleys, so that the system can operate in a sustainable way with high service quality. Initially, the machines only accept coins and banknotes, but soon they will also take credit cards.

Trolleys not returned to the storage rails by passengers after use will continue to be collected by the competent staff members, so that the service can be provided on a continuous basis at all four dispenser points.

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Rotterdam-Budapest flight with Transavia

The choice of destinations offered by Budapest Airport has been expanded once again as Dutch airline Transavia has transferred its Budapest flights from Amsterdam to Rotterdam. The white-colored Boeing 737 type aircraft, bearing the characteristic stripes of Transavia, will fly the route between the Hungarian capital and the Dutch port city four times a week. Budapest Airport’s route network never included Rotterdam Airport before, which also serves the Dutch capital, The Hague.

Transavia’s aircraft are now arriving in Budapest from Rotterdam instead of Amsterdam. In parallel, KLM, the parent company of Transavia increased the number of its flights to Amsterdam to four a day. Transavia will commute between Rotterdam and Budapest four times a week, on Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays, with a 149-seater Boeing 737-700 or a 186-seater 737-800 type aircraft, depending on demand.

This is the first time that a direct service is available between Budapest and Rotterdam, taking the number of Dutch cities accessible for Hungarian travelers to three, along with Amsterdam and Eindhoven. The airport of Rotterdam also serves the Dutch capital, The Hague, so South Holland is now fully covered in terms of aerial services. Another advantage of the new flight is that Rotterdam is one of Transavia’s largest bases, offering numerous connections.

“Our new flight between Budapest and Amsterdam was launched precisely a year ago, and performed well above our expectations,” said Ivo Steffens, manager direct sales for Transavia, during the flight launch event in Rotterdam. “KLM increased the frequency of its flights to Amsterdam, and we wanted to offer a new destination for Hungarian and Dutch travelers. I can already say that the new flight is very successful; bookings are looking promising, even though the summer season has only just started,” he added.

“We are delighted that Transavia has discovered new opportunities in the Hungarian market; this is another indication that the Netherlands and the region of Budapest are attractive destinations for Hungarian and Dutch tourists and business travelers,” said Kam Jandu, aviation director for Budapest Airport. “Last year, nearly 600 000 passengers traveled between Hungary and the Netherlands by air. It is therefore important to provide greater choice for these passengers, because this is how we can remain competitive,” he added.

Rotterdam is the second largest city in the Netherlands, and has the largest port in Europe. In addition to being a shipping hub, it is also an important rail, road and air distribution point, often referred to as the “Gateway to Europe”. Its cityscape is different from other Dutch settlements as its inner city consists of modern shopping centers, office buildings and skyscrapers.

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Turkish delight: Wizz starts flights to Istanbul

Budapest Airport welcomes the announcement of Wizz Air about the start of weekly 4 flights between the Hungarian capital and Istanbul. The low cost carrier has just announced that they will start flying to Istanbul’s Sabiha Gökçen Airport on the banks of the Bosporus from 2nd August 2013.

There has been an ever increasing demand on the Istanbul route since Malév went out of operations in February last year. Budapest Airport data confirms that despite the frequency and capacity increase of Turkish Airlines on the Budapest-Istanbul route much more demand exists, because some business and leisure travelers from both cities had to take transfer flights through other European cities in order to reach Istanbul or Budapest which is just a two hour flight away.

“The launch of a new Wizz Air service on the Budapest-Istanbul route is extremely good news both for our passengers and the airport.” says Kam Jandu. The Aviation Director of Budapest Airport added: “We anticipate that many new passengers from Hungary will be able to use this opportunity to fly to Turkey with a low-cost carrier whilst many more will still be able to use the network benefits of Turkish Airlines through their growing hub in Istanbul. The robust growth of the Turkish economy makes Istanbul a natural destination for business passengers while at the same time tourists from all over the world flock to the historic city on the banks of the Straits of Bosporus.”

Turkey has always been a very popular touristic destination for Hungarians partly due to the common historic ties of the two countries and the spectacular tourist sites offered by Istanbul itself. Among them are the Blue Mosque (Sultan Ahmed Mosque), a perfect piece of Islamic architecture, the byzantine Hagia Sophia Cathedral and of course the Topkapi Palace (Topkapi Sarayi), home of the Ottoman Sultans and the amazing collection of the sultans’ Treasury full with diamonds, gold and silver. Also the Istanbul Grand Bazaar, the covered labyrinth marketplace of the Turkish city attracts many tourists from around the world to be entertained by its wealth, the silk products, the carpets and the choice of Oriental spices.

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New Full Flight Simulator at BUD

New flight simulator training center has been installed and inaugurated early May this year. Dutch Flight Simulation Company b.v. (FSC) has signed a ten-year contract to lease the building that accommodates a state-of-the-art Airbus A320 full flight simulator and a crew training center to Wizz Air.

Budapest Airport had to modify the existing building significantly and add a bulge to the back façade in order to accommodate the Airbus A320 flight simulator. The building adjacent to the Wizz Air HQ at Gate “A” of Budapest Airport used to accommodate the Boeing 737 simulator of Malév, the former Hungarian national carrier. No longer used by Malév, Budapest Airport managed to find a new tenant for the building where the Wizz Air Training Center was opened.

Flight Simulation Company (FSC) of Holland, the former lessor of the Boeing simulator, is the operator of the Airbus flight simulator. Flight simulators are needed both for training and regular certification of commercial pilot’s licenses by airlines. A full flight simulator is a fully realistic and operational aircraft cockpit able to simulate realistic training scenarios for the training of commercial pilots. In the rear of the cockpit, an instructor has the possibility to select various airports, weather conditions, aircraft configurations and malfunctions. The simulator movements are made realistic by an advanced electrical mechanical motion system. Additionally, FSC has installed various cabin safety equipment to train Wizz Air cabin staff.

Using the Airbus A320 flight simulator of FSC, Wizz Air has a crew training center at its own Budapest HQ. Wizz Air currently operates a fleet of over forty Airbus A320 aircraft in sixteen bases all over Central and Eastern Europe. The FSC training center will help to serve the training and certification needs of the numerous pilots who fly the aircraft of Wizz Air.

“We have been working hard together with FSC and Wizz Air to find a new use for this building at Budapest Airport for the long term,” said René Droese, Director Property of Budapest Airport. He added, “The construction of the new training center for Wizz Air is a clear sign that our airport continues to develop, serves best the needs of its tenants, and is capable of reacting to rapid changes both in aviation and the real-estate market. I am confident that this three-party cooperation of Budapest Airport, FSC, and Wizz Air will benefit all participants.”

Flight Simulation Company (FSC) is a leading Dutch company specialized in Flight Crew Training and Simulator Operations. FSC serves over one hundred airline customers from all over Europe in its twelve-bay simulator training center at Amsterdam-Schiphol Airport. In total, FSC operates fifteen highly advanced flight simulators of Airbus and Boeing aircraft types. Additionally, FSC delivers flight crew training to many airlines using highly qualified instructors and training programs.

“Since 2006, FSC has been active in Hungary by making available a Boeing 737-800 full flight simulator for the former Malév Hungarian Airlines,” said Robin Pijnaker, Director of Sales and Marketing of FSC. He also pointed out, “After the collapse of Malév, FSC removed the Boeing simulator and has now installed a state-of-the-art Airbus A320 full flight simulator for training Wizz Air’s flight crews. Contrary to the Malév operation, FSC will now be the lessor of the training center as well as the operator of the simulator. Highly motivated and qualified local staff has been employed by FSC to run the satellite operation in Budapest.”

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Summer fashion collections in SkyCourt

Budapest Airport’s retail partners are launching their summer promotions and sales at the SkyCourt one after the other. Although the last few days have been characterized by rain and showers in Budapest, the summer has already arrived at Terminal 2, at least with respect to shopping and prices.

“Blue Summer Nights” – this is the slogan under which Heinemann Duty Free launched its early summer promotion at the SkyCourt. As part of the new campaign, they offer everything one could possibly need on a hot summer night or on a sandy beach in the Mediterranean; from linen shoes through special tropical drinks to Versace sunglasses – it’s all there for travelers.

Although most passengers spend less than half an hour at the terminal prior to departure, there is no problem even if the flight is delayed, as passengers could spend hours browsing the new summer collections of the brand stores in the transit area. Guess and Calvin Klein present two different worlds in one outlet; Guess’s 2013 spring and summer collection is dominated by strong colors such as red, orange, violet and neon green, with the company also offering sunglasses with circular and square frames. By contrast, this year Calvin Klein is focusing on modest designs, simple forms and laid-back elegance. Who would have thought that the Calvin Klein shop at the airport not only sells accessories, but also lingerie, with an emphasis on colors.

FREYWILLE remains true to the elegant, harmonic and colorful style that we have come to expect from them. Their latest collection called Floral Symphony is sure to win over ladies’ hearts (and wallets). Both the collection and its name express the passionate and joyful world which FREYWILLE embodies. The new Thomas Sabo collection at Caprice, the other elegant shop in the SkyCourt, is equally attractive. The feminine and sensual collection, which includes rings and bracelets as well, takes inspiration from the magical world of the One Thousand and One Nights, with some Art Noveau thrown in for added spice. The richly adorned starfish, sunflower, ladybird and snake-shaped medals, which would look great on any dress for a summer evening reception or gala, were inspired by the Art Deco style.

The special jewelry and fashion collection from Michal Negrin has been available at the SkyCourt for a year now. It is no wonder that the unique, hand-made pieces of jewelry made their designer world-famous. The name of the new collection, “La Dolce Vita”, speaks volumes about its style, and is already on sale at the shop in Terminal 2A. The product range on offer at the monobrand store of the Austrian company Swarovski is just as exciting. Here we find spectacular and glittering jewelry evoking the world of Central and South America; Acapulco in Mexico during May and Florida and Miami in June could be the highlights of the summer, with Nirvana rings made into medals, in beautiful turquoise, tanzanite, violet and diamond white shades.

ZEMA is a new Hungarian entrant to the world of jewelry, offering unique items made from porcelain in Hollóháza. The hand-painted pieces of jewelry often feature motifs inspired by Hungarian folk art, along with 18 carat gold and platinum for decoration. ZEMA seeks to win over ladies of all age groups, offering something for everyone from young girls through their mothers to grandmothers, always tailored to the taste and forms favored by these groups. ZEMA offers a complete range of products, including necklaces with matching bracelets, earrings and rings for ladies.

“We highly appreciate that our retail partners dazzle passengers with new products and collections all the time; even frequent fliers can always find something new at the shops in the SkyCourt,” said Alan Bork, director consumer for Budapest Airport. “It is worth following the new features appearing in our shops, since summer promotions and new product launches are happening one after the other. At the beginning of their holidays, just before their flight takes off towards a seaside or beach resort, there is a great opportunity for gentlemen to wow their partners with high-quality jewelry at the best prices,” he added.

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To Sofia with Bulgaria Air

A new airline as well as a new destination will be added to the route network of Budapest Airport from June this year. Bulgaria Air will ensure a direct connection between Budapest and Sofia four times per week from 24 June.

From the upcoming summer, the Bulgarian seaside as well as the Bulgarian capital will be directly accessible from Budapest: as of 24 June, the comfortable jets of Bulgaria Air will be flying between the Hungarian and Bulgarian capitals four times a week. Flights will depart from Sofia on Monday, Wednesday, Thursday, ad Friday at 14:10 local time and arrive in Budapest at 14:20 local time. Forty-five minutes later Bulgaria Air will depart from Budapest at 15:05 to arrive in Sofia at 17:15. (In the summer, Budapest time is UTC+2 hours and Sofia is UTC+3 hours.)

Depending on bookings, Bulgaria Air will operate Brazilian Embraer 190 aircraft (with 8 seats in business class and 100 seats in economy) or Airbus A319 aircraft (with 8 seats in business class and 100 seats in economy) between Budapest and Sofia. The schedule is ideally adjusted to the needs of business and conference travelers as well as tourists and visitors on city breaks, allowing comfortable business meetings during the week and long weekends to explore the sights of the Bulgarian capital.

Bulgaria Air is not an unknown partner for Budapest Airport as its charter planes have landed at Budapest Airport several times this spring already. Bulgaria Air is also planning to continue operating the flight in the winter schedule period if it is justified by summer traffic and pre-bookings.

“We are glad to welcome Bulgaria Air in the schedule of Budapest Airport,” commented Kam Jandu, aviation director for Budapest Airport. He added, “I am sure that the re-launched flight connecting the Hungarian and Bulgarian capitals is satisfying real market demand as Sofia is an important destination for business travelers and tourists alike, the same way as the Hungarian capital is an important destination for Bulgarian passengers.”

The territory of Bulgaria exceeds that of Hungary’s by 10 percent, and this mountainous country also has exquisite seaside resorts on the Black Sea coast. Sofia is located at the foot of the Vitosa mountain and offers a number of tourist attractions, from Alexander Nevsky Cathedral through the spicy and colorful cuisine of the Balkans to the excellent Bulgarian red wines. The population of Sofia is about 1.2 million.

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El AL switches to Jumbo Jet

Wide body aircraft are back in the schedule at Budapest Airport. From now on, Israeli airline EL AL will fly to Budapest every Tuesday with a Boeing 747-400 type aircraft, initially until the end of the summer schedule.

The Jumbo Jet was commissioned for the route after pre-bookings by Israeli tourist groups until the end of June reached such a high level that demand could only be satisfied with the Jumbo Jet. The first Boeing 747 brought nearly 420 tourists, who will spend an entire week in Hungary, and will return to Israel with the same aircraft next Tuesday. The flight was welcomed on the concrete by Jost Lammers, the CEO of Budapest Airport, Ilan Mor, ambassador of the State of Israel to Hungary and János Váradi, EL AL’s director for Hungary, along with a large number of journalists. At the improvised press conference it was stated that Israel would like to increase the number of inbound tourists from Hungary, since the modern-day country, built on Biblical lands, offers something interesting for all visitors; the beaches and the vibrant nightlife of Tel Aviv may be just as exciting for some as Jerusalem and the other historic sites of the Holy Land sought by religious pilgrims.

„ EL AL said it is in discussions with the Hungarian aviation authority about all of its aircraft being permitted to land in Hungary, whereby the flight could also be flown with a Boeing 777 or 767.

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Budapest Airport welcomes Wizz flight to Baku

Budapest Airport welcomes the launch of scheduled service of Wizz Air to the capitol of Azerbaijan. The aircraft of the Hungarian low-cost carrier will depart twice a week at 21.25 from Budapest and will return the next day from Baku at 05.50 hours in the morning. This is the first regular intercontinental night-flight of Wizz Air from Budapest.

The first flight of Wizz Air from Budapest to Baku, Azerbaijan has left the runway of Liszt Ferenc International Airport at 21.59 hours. The flight to Baku takes approximately 4 hours from Budapest with the Airbus A 320 type 180-seat passenger aircraft of Wizz Air, the largest low-fare, low-cost airline of Central and Eastern Europe. Still before departure the pilots and the crew of Wizz Air Budapest-Baku service were presented with a special “first-flight” cake by Mr. Patrick Bohl, Head of Airline Business Development of Budapest Airport – a tradition that marks every inaugural flight of an airline from or to Budapest.

The start of the Baku flights were announced by Ms. Lászlóné Németh Zsuzsa, Minister of National Development of Hungary back in April when she had concluded successful talks with Azeri government officials in Baku. This announcement fits into the so-called “opening to the East” policy of the Hungarian government aimed at developing political and economic relations with the emerging markets of the Caucasus region, the Middle East and Central Asia. The new Wizz Air flight to Baku may well serve the development of business ties with Azerbaijan, an up-coming economy based on huge oil and gas revenues and developing fast in the past decade.

“We are extremely happy to see off the first flight of Wizz Air to Baku.” said Kam Jandu, Aviation Director of Budapest Airport. He added: “Wizz Air continues constantly to develop its route network from Budapest and this service to Azerbaijan opens up a whole new region that was missing from our network to our passengers. With the launch of an all-night, intercontinental flight Wizz Air has reached yet another important milestone in its steady development.”

Wizz Air flights will depart to Baku every Monday and Friday at 21.25 hours from Budapest. Besides the new flight to Azerbaijan Wizz Air has recently announced the start of a new service to Malta, Istanbul in Turkey and Dubai in the Gulf area (from November this year). They started new flights to Kiev and Tel Aviv last December. In order to be able to service all these new routes Wizz Air is planning to station yet another, seventh aircraft in Budapest this summer.

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