Strong performance in November *** New Wizz flight to Dortmund *** Jet2.com makes it a hatrick at Budapest *** Budapest Winter *** Christmas sparkle at Budapest Airport *** Csaba Vastag dresses up as Santa Claus *** Good-bye London! *** Brio Bistro – with a new design and a wider range *** Half a million HUF – For a single bottle of Tokaj wine!
The airport handled nearly 8.3 million passengers so far this year up to the end of November, which is more than the total annual traffic figure for last year. Budapest Airport is set to register the busiest year on record.
646 171 passengers – this figure from the month of November was enough to ensure that total traffic in 2011 already exceeds that of last year, even before the end of December. Budapest Airport handled a total of 8.19 million passengers in 2010, and the figure for this year already stands at 8.28 million at the end of November. Unless some extreme or unexpected circumstances arise, this will be the busiest year ever at Budapest Airport.
The growth rate in November was 8.1% compared to the same month last year. Just as in October, the airport would not have been able to achieve such good results without a standout performance from Malév. The Hungarian national carrier has produced outstanding results during the past few months to compensate for the stagnation or decrease seen in other segments. In November Malév once again attained significant successes in terms of transfer passengers changing flights at Budapest Airport, increasing their number by approximately 30 000 compared to last November.
Airlines operating long haul flights from Budapest, such as Qatar Airways and American Airlines also registered massive growth in November. But the more than 300 percent increase in the long haul segment is not surprising; a year ago there was only one long haul flight from Budapest, to Beijing, whereas the flights to Doha and New York really improved the performance of this segment in November.
The full service segment grew by 1.2% compared to last November, whilst the low cost carrier market shrunk by 3.4%. The results conform to the latest report by the Airports Council International (ACI). According to the organization, growth in aviation has virtually stalled in the northern hemisphere, in North America and Europe, and it can only be seen in Asia and the Pacific region.
Budapest Airport is looking ahead to 2012 with cautious optimism. The outlook for the aviation industry has deteriorated somewhat due to the crisis in the euro zone, economic issues in the domestic market and general downturn foreseen by many economists.
“We are focusing all our efforts on maximizing our performance at the end of the year because there is a good chance that all traffic records will be broken,” said Kam Jandu, aviation director for Budapest Airport. “In December we are expecting one final peak period during the holidays and we have taken all necessary measures to ensure that traffic should be as seamless as possible during the traditionally busy Christmas period.”
With its nearly 600 000 residents, Dortmund is the seventh largest city in Germany, and an important industrial and cultural center in the federal state of North Rhine-Westphalia. Thanks to the Dotrmund-Ems canal, it also has a sizeable port with direct access to the North Sea. Concurrently with the launch of the Dortmund flight, Wizz Air is discontinuing its flight to Weeze, since passengers had difficulty travelling from this secondary airport, located near the Dutch border, to nearby cities by train or by bus.
Together with the Dortmund flight, Wizz Air offers a total of 22 destinations from Budapest.
Budapest Airport has today announced the launch of a third route from UK-based Jet2.com. The new twice weekly flights from Budapest Airport to Leeds, Bradford in the UK are due to begin on 29th March 2012 and will depart on Thursdays and Sundays from the Hungarian capital. The service from Budapest Airport will run in addition to the existing regular flights to Edinburgh, and the daily schedule operating between Budapest and Manchester. The route, which will operate year round, has been launched following demand from the airline’s customers and follows the on-going success of the existing routes.
The Budapest to Leeds schedule is:
|Thursday||Depart Budapest 13.05||Arrive Leeds Bradford 15.05|
|Depart Leeds Bradford 08.30||Arrive Budapest 12.30|
|Sunday||Depart Budapest 15.30||Arrive Leeds Bradford 19.30|
|Depart Leeds Bradford 20.05||Arrive Budapest 22.05|
Jost Lammers, CEO of Budapest airport commented: “We are delighted that Jet2.com has increased its capacity to the UK with the addition of the Leeds route. It will offer passengers easy access to the UK’s largest county, Yorkshire, and its major cities including the dynamic city of Leeds, the historic town of York, and the spa town of Harrogate. Leeds is also the largest media, financial and legal sector outside of London so the new route will also offer business travellers increased choice in terms of their arrival point into the UK. We are confident the route will perform well”
Gergely Horváth, CEO of the Hungarian Tourism Plc. commented, “We know that Budapest is a very popular city break for the UK population and this new route will give the people of Yorkshire, and its surrounding regions, the opportunity to easily reach Budapest. We look forward to welcoming them on city breaks so they can explore our history, view the stunning architecture, experience our extensive spa culture and enjoy the wide variety of arts; not to mention the growing selection of excellent restaurants, bars and coffee shops.”
Steve Heapy, Chief Commercial Officer of Jet2.com and Managing Director of Jet2holidays, said: “We are pleased to be able to offer the people of Budapest another UK destination direct from their local airport. Based on the experience of our existing Budapest flights we anticipate that the route will be popular with tourists seeking to explore all that Yorkshire has to offer.”
Fares, which are now on sale, start from only 49,49€ one way including taxes. Whilst the aircraft, a Boeing 737 offers an all economy cabin with up to 148 seats, there is the option to buy extra leg room on eight of the seats, and to select allocated seat numbers on ticket purchase. The airline also offers a generous luggage allowance of 22kg. Fare details can be found at www.jet2.com
Similarly to past years, the three, four and five-star hotels participating in the campaign offer one additional night free of charge for guests during the winter season if they book 2 or 3 nights. The HNTO hopes to sell about 200 000 guest nights in Budapest as part of the initiative, which runs from 15 November to 31 March. A new feature is that guests also receive free entry to one of the capital’s historic baths. The marketing agency is communicating all this on spectacular billboards showing hot and cold water taps.
Another new feature is that thematic programs have been compiled for tourists visiting Budapest. On the budapestwinter.com website there are ready-made programs for romantic weekends, rest and wellness or crazy nights. The latter offers a special package of dancing and party nights for young people.
All terminals have been adorned with Christmas decorations as of 1 December. Budapest Airport would like to give a fantastic welcome to passengers traveling during the Christmas period. To this end, the passenger halls have been embellished with more spectacular decorations than ever before. The glistening ornaments will hopefully bring a smile to the face of visitors and conjure a real festive atmosphere.
True to tradition, the giant Christmas tree has been erected on the mezzanine level of Terminal 1. Both the inside and the outside of the Bauhaus-style historical building have been decorated with energy-efficient illuminated garlands. Terminal 2 has likewise been fitted with festive decorations; the 2A and B buildings are lit up by approximately 30 000 LEDs, with Christmas trees and more decorations inside the terminals to delight passengers. The SkyCourt is preparing for its first real Christmas. On the exterior, light chains consisting of 15 000 LEDs emphasize the roof structure, reminiscent of a wing section or a shell. On the interior, not only decorations, but also winter discounts await passengers traveling around Christmas.
Budapest Airport and the tenants operating in the SkyCourt also launched a joint campaign as of 1 December. As part of this, all passengers making a purchase at the shops or restaurants can spin the wheel of fortune to win prizes on the spot. Everyone is a winner in this initiative as the hostesses hand out Christmas gifts to all shoppers. The campaign lasts until Christmas, or, to be more precise, until 23 December.
“The SkyCourt has received several architecture awards since its opening. Accordingly, the Christmas lighting expressly highlights the architectural values of the building; the bold curves, the huge glass façade, the breathtaking internal spaces,” said Alan Bork, director consumer for Budapest Airport. “We are hopeful that passengers will be delighted with our Christmas arrangements, since the sparkle, the festive atmosphere at the terminals and our retail campaigns are all designed to please our passengers.”
Kati Wolf, Csaba Vastag and the members of the “Non Stop” band celebrated Santa Claus in a rather unusual manner at the SkyCourt this year, trying to brighten up the occasion for orphaned children from two childcare institutions. The singers distributed small presents amongst the children after jointly spinning a wheel of fortune, and then teamed up for a song to delight the little ones.
Csaba Vastag, the winner of last year’s TV music competition X-Faktor, was happy to don the red garments of Santa Claus as part of the festivity.
“I was delighted when I heard that me and Kati were asked to appear as part of the Santa Claus celebration,” said Csaba, who interacted very well with the children. “It was good to see how jovial they were and how much they enjoyed the Christmas song that we performed together with Non Stop. I hope they will have happy holidays. If we managed to make them a little happier with this song and with this meeting, then that would be a great present for me as well.”
As a mother, Kati Wolf was especially touched by the stories of some of the children.
“As a mother I am especially moved if I meet disadvantaged children, so I was delighted to be able to spend this day with them,” she said.
More than 5000 exhibitors and nearly 48 000 tourism professionals participated in one of the most prestigious travel exhibitions in the world. The 210-square-meter Hungarian stand had been present at several European exhibitions, coming away from Berlin with one of the prizes in the spring. The stand and its spectacular visual elements are designed to promote Hungarian spas and baths.
Budapest Airport, as one of the exhibitors on the Hungarian stand, welcomed visitors with offers from its airline partners and Budapest hotels, and presented its services. The airport’s stand proved very popular. Most of the visitors had already heard of the newly opened SkyCourt, which shows that the tourism industry is paying attention to large development projects such as this.
In addition to Hungarian delicacies, travelers are tempted by a selection of fresh baguettes, panini, tramezzini, wraps and salads in the atmospheric interior. The outlet also offers pizza, bruschetta and focaccia fresh from the oven to cater for the cold winter weather.
The world-famous Tokaj wine specialties, regarded as one of the most prominent even amongst premium Hungarian gastronomical products, have proved popular with foreign travelers since their appearance at the airport.
The Heinemann Duty Free shop offers eight types of museum wine from Tokaj Kereskedőház, all of them tokaji aszú, a type of sweet wine made from overripe grapes. The oldest (and most expensive) dates back to 1940, but even the youngest bottle is more than 23 years old. The unique vintage wines dating from 1940 to 1988 are primarily popular with passengers from the Central and Eastern European region, but several bottles have been purchased by customers traveling to the Far East as well. A total of 28 bottles of museum wine made by Tokaj Kereskedőház have been sold since sales commenced in April. This is undoubtedly an outstanding performance, since these are amongst the most unique and highly cherished wines in the world, sought mostly by connoisseurs and collectors rather than the average traveler. The mostly Russian, Ukrainian, Polish and Czech customers pay several hundred euros for the cheapest bottle and no less than 1800 euros (approximately 540 000 HUF) for the most expensive, the 1940 vintage wine.
In return for the hefty price, travelers receive truly unique value and quality; the museum wines stored carefully over the decades in the wine cellars are kept at a special wine safe located in the airport shop, which is normally locked and guarantees the ideal temperature (12 degrees Celsius) and humidity. Shoppers can view replicas, so-called “dummy” bottles of all types of museum wine on the shelf above the safe, to be able make their decision. An official certificate from Tokaj Kereskedőház attests to the unique quality of the wines.
The most sought-after vintage is the 6 puttonyos (wooden vessel used to collect the grapes) 1988 aszú, of which 13 bottles have been sold so far. The 5 puttonyos aszú from 1972 comes second with 6 purchases to date. The third most popular choices of well-to-do shoppers are the 1956 5 puttonyos and the 1968 6 puttonyos aszú, with 3 bottles sold of each. One bottle of the most valuable wine on offer, the 1940 aszúesszencia (a sweet specialty made from the juice of aszú berries which runs off naturally from the vats in which they are collected during harvesting) has been sold so far to a Russian passenger, which is hardly surprising as more than one-third of all museum wines were snapped up by Russian citizens.
Not only museum wines, but “contemporary” Tokaj wines are also popular at the SkyCourt. At the Heinemann Duty Free, sales of Tokaj wines have increased by 12% in the space of one year. The duty free operator has dedicated a separate section within its 1500-square-meter store to Hungarian products. The shop generates 20% of its revenues from the sale of Hungarian produce.
“When compiling the product range to be sold at the SkyCourt, it was an important consideration that the most popular international brands should be complimented with the best Hungarian products,” emphasized Alan Bork, retail director for Budapest Airport. “Our aim was to ensure that the new terminal building should offer a selection of the greatest global brands for Hungarian travelers and a slice of Hungary for our foreign passengers. We are delighted to see that the Tokaj wines are living up to expectations. They are unique, high-quality products which are worthy representatives not only of the Tokaj wine region, but of Hungarian wine-making and culture as a whole.”