Presenting in one concise package the week’s most important and fascinating national stories, whether they be economic, political, cultural, sporting or among the hundreds of other happenings that go on daily.
It could take weeks before the supporting wall of the channel leading to Déli railway station is fixed and it can reopen, state railways MÁV has said. Trains now arrive at Kelenföld station, where travellers can access Metro M4, but some trains have had to be cut from the schedule because Kelenföld cannot fully cope. Déli station handles some 250 trains, carrying 10-12,000 people, daily.
Airport takes EU lead on ‘Free Route’ plan
Hungarian air traffic control company HungaroControl has become the first in Europe to abolish the fixed flight route network on the whole, the company has announced. The significance of the new Hungarian Free Route Airspace traffic management concept is that it allows airplanes to take the shortest possible flight path between the entry and exit points in Hungarian airspace, HungaroControl said. This would allow airlines to save fuel worth an estimated USD 3 million a year, resulting also in cutting Co2 emissions by more than 16 million kilogrammes, it asserted. A European Commission regulation requires all EU member states to introduce the Free Route airspace above 9,000 metres across all Europe by January 1, 2022.
President János Áder opened the 19th Csángó Ball in Budapest , telling attendees that national cohesion or national culture “cannot be outdated”. “Being Hungarian is thinking in Hungarian, praying in Hungarian, being in love in Hungarian and caressing our children with Hungarian words,” Áder said. The event was attended by US Ambassador Colleen Bell, head of the parliamentary Foreign Affairs Committee Zsolt Németh, and representatives of ethnic Hungarian communities. The ball, featuring folk dance programmes, concerts, exhibitions and other programmes at several venues, was organised by the Pro Minoritate Foundation and the Moldavia Hungarians’ Federation.
Extra hour of IKEA to offset Sunday closing
Home furnishings retailer IKEA will stay open an hour longer from March to cushion a fall in revenue expected by most big retailers after restrictions on Sunday business hours begin in mid-March. IKEA will open from 9am to 10pm on Monday-Saturday. The chain had revenue of almost HUF 41 billion in its business year ended August 31.
Richter racks up Q4 loss on weaker rouble
Hungarian drug maker Gedeon Richter finished the fourth quarter of last year HUF 4.2 billion in the red as the sharp weakening of the rouble generated a big loss, an earnings report has shown. Richter had a financial loss of HUF 15.5 billion in the quarter, the consolidated IFRS report shows, well over the HUF 2.9 billion loss in the base period. Richter’s earnings per share came to negative HUF 23 in the period. The company booked net income of HUF 24.6 billion for the full year, down 42.4%, weighed down by a financial loss of HUF 12.7 billion. Revenue was virtually flat at HUF 353.7 billion. Richter said its sales in Russia fell by 15.3% to HUF 84.5 billion last year, while sales in Ukraine were down 20% at HUF 17.1 billion. Sales in Hungary climbed 5% to HUF 32.8 billion. Chief executive Erik Bogsch will make spending cuts of HUF 10 billion and he expects this year’s sales to drop 7-8% in euro terms.
MPs of the ruling Fidesz-Christian Democratic parties have proposed that a new hospital be built in Budapest. After a year-opening caucus meeting in Mezőkövesd, Fidesz group leader Antal Rogán said the parliamentary group had authorised the government to raise the necessary funds including financing from the European Union, select a site and prepare a timetable for the construction. The group has also authorised the government to launch a national utility provider in March, Rogán said. This provider would ensure gas supplies first, all over the country. It would operate on a non-profit basis and was thus expected to be cheaper than other companies, enabling the government to maintain its public utility bill reduction programme. The ruling parties want the national provider to supply electricity as well, no later than in 2016, Rogán said. Pictured are Prime Minister Viktor Orbán arriving at the session (top) and demonstrators of Együtt (Together). The sign reads “New levy or theft. What are you preparing for now?”
‘Fall in demand’: Hungary halts gas to Ukraine
Hungarian transmission system operator FGSZ says it has stopped gas deliveries to Ukraine because of a fall in demand. FGSZ said it knew no reason why demand had dropped. Hungary resumed gas deliveries to Ukraine in January after FGSZ suspended them on September 25, 2014, to top up domestic reserves. Last year Ukraine imported 600 million cubic metres of gas from Hungary.
Hungary must decide whether to bid to host the 2024 Olympic and Paralympic Games in a responsible way and following thorough preparations, president of the Hungarian Olympic Committee Zsolt Borkai has told sports daily Nemzeti Sport. Borkai said a possible bid could follow in light of the International Olympic Committee’s recently approved Agenda 2020 reform package that eases conditions on organising the Games. “The IOC has decided that after 2020 it wants cheaper games that pay off,” he said. “This kind of economical Olympics will be a revolutionary change overall and a historic chance for Hungary.” But first the country must make a feasibility study and gauge public opinion. An Olympic Games was not only a sporting event but an economic and social issue as well, so “If any of these criteria is missing, Hungary must not submit a bid”. Pictured is three-time Olympic champion water polo coach Dénes Kemény as he votes yes for the proposal.