Budapest Airport consigned all previous passenger records to the history books in 2014. The capital airport of Hungary served 9,155,961 passengers last year, a solid 7.5% increase over 2013. A series of new airlines started operating to new destinations from Budapest, while existing airlines either increased capacity or frequency to their earlier destinations.
The 9,155,961 departing and arriving passengers surpassed the previous record of 8.9 million in 2011 by a healthy margin. The dynamic growth was spread evenly throughout 2014, with seven months generating all-time records in the history of Budapest Airport (February, March, April, May, June, November and December). The share of non-Schengen zone traffic increased to a sound 36%, which reduces the airport’s dependence on intra-European traffic.
The average load factor of airlines also rose to a record 79%, which highlights the ever-growing demand amongst tourists and business travelers for visiting Budapest and Hungary. This high figure makes flights to Budapest very attractive for airline operators and provides a good basis for further improvements.
Early forecasts by Budapest Airport’s aviation experts indicate a further traffic increase for 2015, to surpass 9.6 million passengers. With constantly increasing numbers, the airport also managed to further improve the travel experience, a fact reflected in record high ratings given by travellers in the anonymous satisfaction surveys conducted on behalf of Airports Council International.
Liszt Ferenc Airport CEO Jost Lammers said: “We are extremely proud of the records reached in 2014 and see this as a result of our three years of effort to bring new airlines and new flights to Budapest. This is also the joint achievement of all those involved in the tourism industry, from airlines through travel agencies and hotels to our strategic partner, the national tourism organisation (HNTO).
“This robust growth enables us to continue our airport modernisation and development program, worth over EUR 15 million just this year. We will build a new maintenance hangar for Wizz Air in Budapest and will modernise our instrument landing system. With this dynamic growth in passenger numbers, the airport and its related enterprises remain the largest employer in the southern Pest region.”
For the summer of 2015, Budapest Airport has announced the renewal of transatlantic flights by Canadian carrier Air Transat, the addition of the ninth Budapest-based aircraft by Wizz Air to its local fleet, the start of new flights to Spain by Iberia and another Spanish carrier Vueling commencing flights from Barcelona and Rome-Fiumicino.
The airport’s chief commercial officer, Kam Jandu, said: “2015 is also set to be a bumper year thanks to the huge boost in tourist numbers, driving new airlines to enter and existing ones to expand their operations. We expect more than 9.6 million passengers this year, which is great for the Hungarian economy, and is also a major boost for employment, especially in the hotel and tourism industry.
“We also continue to improve our services in all areas, ranging from airport parking through digital information platforms to passenger-oriented commercial services in our terminals.”