The operator of the capital’s Liszt Ferenc Airport will dismiss only 198 employees instead of the previously planned 250, but if Parliament accepts a land tax proposal by District XVII Mayor Levente Riz then increasing costs may force further layoffs, Budapest Airport says.
“The new land tax modification draft voted in Parliament yesterday is putting an extra burden on Budapest Airport (BUD),” a statement by the company said. “The airport operating company is already fighting for survival after the bankruptcy of Malév Hungarian Airlines.” BUD noted that it had already put off more than HUF 10 billion (EUR 34.13 million) in developments planned for 2012.
According to the company it “paid HUF 675 million (EUR 2.303 million) land tax in 2011. The amendment passed last December would have increased this to about HUF 1.6 billion (EUR 5.46 million) for 2012, but the recent legislation will bring this amount close to HUF 2.25 billion (EUR 7.67 million) per annum”.
The final vote on the legislation regulating local taxes will be during the first April session of the House. Though sources of news portal origo.hu said neither the cabinet nor the budget committee supported the proposal, it passed with 287 yeas on Monday. The increase in land tax would essentially be the result of the amendment classifying “solid grounds used for moving (e.g. runways)” once again as part of the land and thus subject to the tax. But while the airport pays more, municipalities receive less, costing District XVII some HUF 450 million (EUR 1.53 million) and District XVIII HUF 250-300 million (EUR 0.852-1.023 million).
BUD spokesman Mihály Hardy said the company would have to pay three times as much in land tax if the proposal makes it through the final vote, which could put the airport operator – which posted about HUF 10 billion (EUR 34.13 million) in net loss in 2011 – in serious jeopardy.
More new flights
Qatar Airways, which first landed at Budapest in January 2011, will start direct, daily non-stop flights between the Hungarian capital and Zagreb between May and the end of October. “The extended services from Qatar Airways are a welcome addition to Budapest,” said Kam Jandu, BUD director of aviation. “Zagreb is an important commercial link for Hungary and the flights will allow passengers to transit via Doha and connect onto Qatar Airways’ flights to Asian and Australian destinations.”
The announcement came after budget airline Wizz Air said it will launch flights between Budapest and the Bulgarian seaside city of Varna, expand services to Palma de Mallorca, Thessaloniki and London-Luton, and fly to Milan’s main airport (Malpensa) instead of Bergamo from 18 June. To serve these routes Wizz Air expanded its Budapest fleet of four planes with an Airbus 320 on Sunday. “This is already the second of three new airplanes, which will double the Budapest fleet of the airline within a matter of three months,” Wizz Air said.