Budapest Airport Liszt Ference is a showcase for what can be achieved when a management’s farsighted cargo policy is strongly supported by partners, shippers, forwarders, and the Hungarian government. After just 15 months of construction and a €50 million investment, Budapest Airport proudly opened their state-of-the-art Cargo City on Thursday, 21 NOV 19. Given the huge cargo potentials for the region, but with the airport unable to grow further as its old facilities were already running on full capacity, it was pretty much a do-or-die decision to proceed with the project.
Invest in modern infrastructure or lose business. That was the key question BUD’s managers were faced with some time ago in view of rapidly rising tonnage on the one hand and too little, outdated handling space on the other. They decided in favor of spending money on modernizing the ground infrastructure. A crucial step if BUD was to play a leading role in passenger and cargo traffic in Central and Eastern Europe in the years to come.
No night flight bans, instead traffic all around the clock
The result of this course toward the future could be seen first time last Thursday at BUD Cargo City’s opening ceremony which was attended by 400 invitees. Amongst them; leading representatives of the air freight industry, high-ranking members of the Hungarian government, customs officials and media. The ceremony took place in the impressive new freight center which houses 21,600 m² of cargo handling facilities, is easily accessible by both freighter aircraft and trucks, and is secured 24/7 by full CCTV coverage.
The facility which will commence operations on 06 JAN 20, is located within BUD’s airport fence, just a stone’s throw away from the passenger Terminal 2, enabling swift shipment transits from aircraft to aircraft. It can handle an annual throughput of 200,000 tons (currently BUD handles 150,000 tons) and will be complemented by a 11,200 m² building for forwarding agents located adjacent to the new Cargo City, just 50 m away. This facility will be operational next February, the airport officials confirm. The entire project is rounded off by aircraft stands directly next to the new cargo complex, where two Boeing 747 Jumbos can be handled simultaneously.
Trailblazer currently only utilizing 10% of its potential market
And BUD’s cargo visions go even beyond this: “We can easily double the capacity if market demand will prompt us to react by building a similar warehouse of identical size next to the one we just introduced,“ René Droese, Budapest Airport’s Chief Property and Cargo Officer, stated at the Opening Ceremony. Asked by CargoForwarder about his feelings, he spoke of a great day for Budapest Airport, the cargo industry, and his team that has worked extremely hard to accomplish everything right in time, according to plans and within the budget limits. The outcome is a “World Class facility” and “trailblazer” stimulating further cargo growth not only in Hungary but also in Central and Eastern Europe, Mr Droese added.
In fact, the volumes handled in BUD are on the up, evidenced by a stunning tonnage growth of 60 percent since 2015. A record figure at least within the European airport landscape.
Praised from all sides
Main contributor is Cargolux, serving BUD since 2002 and now operating daily flights (7/7th) in and out of the Hungarian gateway, followed by ABC, QR Cargo and integrators such as DHL and FedEx. An encouraging development not only warmly welcomed by Mr Droese, BUD Cargo Chief Jozsef Kossuth and their team, but also by handling agents, Celebi and Menzies Aviation. Both ground service providers have rented the lion’s share of the facility in order to secure further growth. This was unanimously confirmed by their managers Atilla Korkmazoglu (Celebi) and Robert Fordree respectively.
BUD Cargo is the result of “a keen vision, hard work and a supportive political climate” newly elected TIACA Chief, Steven Polmans, stated. He is also Head of Cargo and Logistics at Brussels Airport, so has a keen understanding of just how successful the BUD project has been.
Andrey Andreev, VP Europe of AirBridgeCargo Airlines added to this: “Thanks to Budapest’s growth, the place is becoming more and more important to us to keep it growing and keep on serving our customers in Eastern Europe.“ Finally, Alexander Mueller, Head of Cargo Hamburg Airports stated: “With the new BUD Cargo City, Budapest Airport has set a milestone in air freight for the whole of Eastern Europe and beyond. I heartily congratulate our sister airport on its success and look forward to continuing to work closely together.” Airport investor AviAlliance is a common stakeholder in the Budapest, Duesseldorf and Hamburg airports.
Hungary pushes the transport industry up front
Special attention was given to the welcome speech of Levente Magyar, Hungary’s Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade. Following praise for the BUD Cargo City and its growing volumes, he announced plans for rapid express rail links from Budapest to the neighboring countries, such as Austria, Poland, Slovakia or the Czech Republic, and stated that these will be complemented by eight new motorways to large cities located in the above named states, thus tripling today’s number of border crossing highways. Further to this, he underlined that Hungary had also purchased a dock in Trieste at the Italian coast, opening the landlocked country up to become a player in maritime traffic.
Last but not least, it must be mentioned that in addition to the wealth of information delivered by speakers, the small-talk and networking possibilities with new acquaintances or renewing existing ones, the excellent dishes appreciated by the attendees, there were also many visual highlights. A group of young dancers presented a breathtaking show on ropes, poles and with amazing body strength, that fascinated the invitees.
To round it off: Kudos to the organizers and the airport management for this successful mixture of infotainment, making the Opening Ceremony of the new Cargo City an unforgettable event.
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