Budapest Airport 2011: All traffic records beaten! *** BUD sign on the terminal facade *** Ferenc Liszt in the Terminal *** Ryanair returns to Hungary! *** Jet2.com makes it a hatrick with third route announced from Budapest Airport to Leeds *** New Wizz Air flight: Budapest-Dortmund *** Qatar Airways flight to Budapest celebrates first anniversary *** Budapest Airport in support of clean natural waters *** Blue Bird’s Back! *** Massage at airport *** Bill Bentley and Ritazza at 2A *** Brio Bistro
2011 was a crucial year for the capital airport of Hungary in many ways; with the opening of the SkyCourt, the new Terminal 2 building, the arrival of a series of new airlines and the opening of new destinations, the airport has made every effort to become a leading gateway in Central and Eastern Europe.
Budapest Airport recorded a higher traffic increase in 2011 than the European average. According to international statistics, air travel across European airports increased by 7%, whilst Budapest Airport registered 8,920,653 passengers, or a 9% increase from 2010 (with 8.2 million passengers). This number is 323,516 more than in the earlier record year of 2007.
Budapest Airport made every effort to attract new airlines and to open new destinations in the past year. Qatar Airways launched its Doha-Budapest flight in January 2011, and the service went daily in September due to ever-increasing demand. American Airlines was a newcomer to the Hungarian market by starting daily JFK-Budapest service from April this year. The Baltic region became available for travelers from Hungary in May, when airBaltic started 4 weekly flights from Riga to the Hungarian capital. Another new route was opened by Jet2.com, connecting the heart of Scotland with Budapest in June with the launch of its popular Edinburgh flight. Last but not least, the Swiss SkyWork Airlines started flights between Bern and Budapest at the end of the year, thus increasing the number of Swiss cities on the destination map of Budapest Airport to four (after Zurich, Basel and Geneva).
“We are determined to carry on with our ambitious plan to turn Budapest Airport into the leading hub in Central and Eastern Europe in terms of traffic growth and service quality,” commented Jost Lammers, CEO of Budapest Airport. He added: “Our aim is now to consolidate what has been achieved so far and to carry on implementing our plans for the future. The past four years since the privatization of the airport have proved to be successful; we continued our airport development and investment plans even during the most difficult times of the world financial crisis. This is now starting to pay off, and we can offer much higher service standards for our passengers and have increased efficiency in all respects of airport operations. We look forward to welcoming additional airlines and destinations in 2012 to further enhance the customer experience”
Full service airlines such as Lufthansa, British Airways, KLM, Air France, Swiss, Turkish Airlines and many others have been the main drivers of the traffic increase. Increases in flight frequencies, aircraft size and seat load factors have contributed to such strong growth. This segment recorded a 19.6% increase in passenger numbers versus 2010. There was a significant increase in the area of long-haul flights; the 44% increase can be attributed to Qatar Airways and American Airlines, while Delta and Hainan remained strong market players in Budapest. Malév Hungarian Airlines improved its performance rapidly in Q4 of 2011 and carried 200,000 more passengers than 2010, whilst the number of transfer passengers increased by more than 8 %. In total, transfer passengers accounted for 17 % of all passengers at BUD. The low cost carrier segment continued to grow, taking advantage of Wizzair’s 4th aircraft based at BUD for the full year in 2011.
Budapest Airport has been striving to become the region’s leading aviation hub for years. The biggest project realized to this end was the opening of the SkyCourt, the new Terminal 2 building with an investment of 100 million Euros. This has substantially increased the passenger capacity of Budapest Airport and has also increased travel comfort, food and beverage services and shopping facilities at the airport. This has been reflected in quarterly passenger satisfaction surveys, showing a giant leap in the assessment of service levels provided by the main Hungarian airport for travelers. With the opening of the SkyCourt, a brand new computerized baggage handling system has commenced operation in Budapest, and the passenger security capacity has been more than doubled with 12 new departing lanes opened and 2 more added to the existing 4 in the transfer area.
Budapest Airport is continuing its BUD Future development program in 2012. In the spring, construction works will start on the new Cargo City phase I, comprising an 11,000 square meter state-of-the-art logistics/warehouse facility along with 4500 square meters of offices. Budapest Airport will also commence the construction of a brand new engine test stand near the Lufthansa Technik hangar. This investment will help to reduce ground noise for the communities living around the airport.
The introduction of Budapest Airport’s new corporate image is nearing completion. Smaller items such as pens, lanyards and notebooks have been available in the new colors for months, and the signs in passenger circulation areas have also been fitted with the new design elements. The replacement of the signs on the terminal buildings is the final piece of this transformation process.
As is well known, the Ferihegy signs were removed in March 2011, when the airport was renamed after composer Ferenc Liszt, with only the numbers of the terminals remaining in place. The 1, 2A and 2B inscriptions have now been amended based on the new corporate image, restoring the completeness of the signs.
The painter has been enthralled by the theme of the meeting of these two world-famous Hungarians for decades preparing several studies, sketches, and paintings about this duo earlier. He was obsessed with the painting which was under preparation for several decades and thus became the central piece of his oeuvre. Therefore, it meant everything to him that the painting was exhibited here at the airport. The family of the artist notified us a few days after the unveiling of the painting at the airport that the elderly gentleman fell ill in his home after the ceremony and two days before Christmas he passed away. He just managed to see that his piece was displayed in a worthy environment. May he rest in peace!
As a result of the negotiations held during the past year-and-a-half, Ryanair is launching flights to Budapest in 2012 from five destinations; Bristol, Dublin, Birmingham, London (Stansted) and Bologna. The carrier’s decision was greatly facilitated by the opportunities offered by the Air marketing Fund (AMF), which was recently reorganized by the HNTO. Using funds from the AMF, the HNTO and the carrier will undertake intensive joint marketing activities to promote Hungary on the feeder markets of the new flights. The new routes could generate at least 200,000 guest nights per year for accommodation service providers in Hungary.
As is well known, the HNTO has established closer cooperation with Budapest Airport and with numerous other Hungarian and foreign tourism stakeholders within the framework of the reorganized AMF, in order to develop air traffic and improve Hungary’s connectivity. HNTO CEO Gergely Horváth and the management of Budapest Airport held several rounds of negotiations with their counterparts from Ryanair over the past year-and-a-half to facilitate the return of the Irish low cost carrier to Hungary.
Gergely Horváth said reacting to the announcement: “From the perspective of tourism it is a great success for all of us that we have managed to lure the largest European low cost carrier back to Hungary. The new routes will connect the country with five destinations that are of key importance for us, and could generate at least 200,000 guest nights per year for accommodation service providers in Hungary.”
The United Kingdom is the third largest feeder market for Hungarian tourism (behind Germany and Austria), with Italy occupying fourth place. Thus, the new flights launched this spring will provide connections to three crucially important feeder markets, from which tourists primarily arrive in Hungary by air. Another advantage is that the London and the Dublin flights will operate all year round. The route launches harmonize with the strategic objective set by the HNTO a year-and-a-half ago of trying to increase the number and the capacity of inbound flights to Hungary primarily from feeder markets where the number of guest nights spent in Hungary is in direct correlation with the capacity of the inbound flights linking the given markets with Hungary. This trend is clearly observable in the case of the United Kingdom; in 2000 the number of British guest nights at accommodation service providers in Hungary barely exceeded 300 000. In 2005, at the time of the low cost boom, the number of guest nights jumped to over 822 000. It is apparent from the data of the subsequent years as well that the number of guest night correlates directly with changes in the capacity of inbound flights; in 2010 accommodation service providers in Hungary registered “only” 510 000 guest nights from this market. Thus, the re-launch of the Ryanair flights could generate significant additional demand for Hungary in the area of tourism.
Jost Lammers, CEO of Budapest Airport added: “I am delighted to once again welcome Ryanair amongst the low cost carriers at Budapest Airport. The incentives offered and published by the airport are available equally to all low cost carriers, and I am sure this was one of the factors which contributed to Ryanair deciding to re-launch its flights to and from Budapest. Our route development strategy worked out together with the HNTO serves the interests of the airport, the airlines and of Hungarian tourism as well.”
The significance of the flight launched from Bologna in Northern Italy also should not be underestimated, as this route provides a totally new aerial connection between the two countries. Hungary can primarily expect business travelers from this feeder market. Italian travelers spend nearly 500 000 guest nights per year at accommodation facilities in Hungary.
The AMF is currently able to provide support to the larger Hungarian international airports (Budapest, Sármellék and Debrecen) to secure new flights. The sums spent by the fund on new flights and on promoting Hungary as a tourist destination pay dividends many times over.
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
Budapest Airport’s route network has been expanded with yet another new flight as the popular low cost carrier now commutes to Dortmund in North Rhine-Westphalia twice a week on Mondays and Fridays. The aircraft depart from Terminal 1 of Budapest Airport at 11:15 a.m. and land in the German city after a flight of approximately one-and-half hours. As of 27 March 2012, the onset of the summer schedule, Wizz Air will increase the frequency of the Dortmund flight to three a week, with the Airbus A 320s departing on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays from then on. There is an ideal opportunity for a city break on the long weekends coming up in both schedule periods.
The first Wizz Air flight between Budapest and Dortmund was flown by captain Ferenc Mester and first officer Péter Domian, with four flight attendants looking after the comfort of the 126 passengers. As is customary, Patrick Bohl, head of airline business development for Budapest Airport welcomed the crew of the first flight with a cake made for the occasion. Passengers were handed out model Wizz Air aircraft, and the first person to make a booking for the flight through the internet received a personal gift.
Wizz Air is the largest low cost carrier in Central and Eastern Europe, and is also the market leader in this segment at Budapest Airport. In 2011 Wizz Air’s four Airbus A 320 aircraft carried no less than 1 359 000 departing passengers from Budapest, which represents growth of 13 % compared to the previous year. Wizz Air has been the second largest airline operating at Budapest Airport for some time now. The launch of their latest route to Dortmund means that they are now offering flights to 23 European cities and holiday destinations from Budapest.
There is no better indication regarding the popularity of the flight than the fact that since 14 September 2011, Qatar Airways has been commuting between Doha and Budapest on a daily basis and directly, without the stopover in Bucharest. The Airbus A 320 aircraft of “the world’s five-star airline” make the journey between the Hungarian and the Qatari capital in five hours. The A 320 aircraft are fitted with a seating arrangement of 144 seats, split between business and economy classes. For the comfort of passengers, Qatar Airways offers 12 business class seats and 132 economy class seats on board the aircraft capable of accommodating a maximum of 180 passengers.
Qatar Airways’ elegantly painted aircraft, decorated with the emblem featuring the Oryx antelope, arrive at Budapest Airport at 12:25 every day and depart at 16:15. In order to better utilize this long parking period and to reach more passengers, the carrier plans to fly to Zagreb during this time, to be able to make the return journey from Budapest to Doha with passengers from Croatia also on board.
“We are delighted to celebrate the first anniversary of the day when we were first able to welcome the passengers of Qatar Airways, the world’s five-star airline, to Budapest,” said Kam Jandu, aviation director for Budapest Airport. “The fact that only eight months after the launch of the flight Qatar Airways is already commuting to Budapest on a daily basis shows just how much demand there is for this flight in Hungary and the region. With the handover of the SkyCourt last year, Budapest Airport not only increased the capacity of Terminal 2, but is also able to provide much better services for passengers, including those flying Qatar Airways.”
Qatar Airways has not only reduced the travel time from Budapest to Doha and the Persian Gulf region. A large number of passengers are transferring in Doha en route to Thailand, China, Indonesia, Singapore, Australia, South Africa and Kenya. With the new route, their journey has become four or five hours shorter.
Numerous businessmen, pop and film stars use the services of Qatar Airways, who are highly appreciative of the carrier’s on-board and ground services, as well as the high level of discretion it offers. Thus, we can only provide information about one VIP passenger, the latest acquisition of the Budapest Zoo, an Australian wombat (a rare marsupial mammal), which also arrived in Hungary as a Qatar Airways “passenger”, although it made the journey not in the cabin, but in a special cage in the cargo hold.
Following successful testing last year, Budapest Airport has commenced live operation of its water quality monitoring device in order to protect the water quality and the cleanliness of nearby natural waters. The machine measures the concentration of organic matter in rainwater, which enters the water drainage network at the airport together with the fluid used for the de-icing of aircraft during the winter.
The new device is not only capable of monitoring, but also plays a direct role in protecting water quality. The system signals if the concentration of pollutants reaches the applicable threshold, and immediately prevents the polluted rainwater from being discharged into natural waters. In such cases, a special sluice gate closes, thus channeling the water collected in the drainage canals into the airport’s waste water drainage system and, ultimately, into the municipal sewage system.
The de-icing fluid is not poisonous, and is easily broken down in natural waters, but in large quantities it is still harmful to the environment, since it extracts oxygen from the water as it disintegrates, which may endanger the local plant and wildlife. Normally, rainwater collected at the airport flows into the Gyáli brook, and from there, it reaches the Ráckeve branch of the Danube. Since the operation of the system, two pumps have pumped over more than 1200 cubic meters of water, which means that burdens on the water quality of the Gyáli brook from the operation of the airport have been reduced by this quantity.
Similar devices are operating at several airports where HOCHTIEF Concessions, the majority owner of Budapest Airport is partly or wholly responsible for operations. According to the unanimous opinion of experts, the system has performed well abroad; thus, the environmental specialists of Budapest Airport are also hopeful of successful operation.
"Budapest Airport’s latest environmental initiative is one of many steps taken in the interest of the sustainable development of the airport,” said Gábor Szarvas, environment, health and safety director for Budapest Airport. "Based on experiences from abroad and from our one-year trial operation, we have every reason to be optimistic that the system will work, and we are delighted that with this successful project we can make a significant contribution to the water quality of the natural waters near the airport,” he added.
The name of Blue1 may ring a bell for many of us, since they operated their scheduled flight connecting Budapest and Helsinki in 2007 and 2008 which was discontinued as a consequence of the economic crisis. The route development team of Business Unit Aviation have managed to convince the airline this year to re-start its regular flight in the summer season. Bluel is planning to use a 115-seat Boeing 717 on the Helsinki-Budapest route.
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