Budapest Ferenc Liszt International Airport
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Budapest Ferenc Liszt International Airport (Hungarian: Budapest Liszt Ferenc Nemzetközi Repülőtér) (IATA: BUD, ICAO: LHBP), formerly known as Budapest Ferihegy International Airport and still commonly called just Ferihegy, is the international airport serving the Hungarian capital city of Budapest, and by far the largest of the country's four commercial airports. The airport is located 16 kilometres (9.9 mi) southeast of the center of Budapest (bordering Pest county) and was renamed in 2011 in honor of the most famous Hungarian composer Franz Liszt (Hungarian Liszt Ferenc) on the occasion of the 200th anniversary of his birth. The airport won the Skytrax Best Eastern European airport prize three times in a row (2014-2016).
|Budapest Ferenc Liszt International Airport
Budapest Liszt Ferenc Nemzetközi Repülőtér
|Owner||Budapest Airport Ltd.|
|Operator||Budapest Airport Ltd.|
|Location||16 km (9.9 mi) south-east of centre of Budapest|
|Hub for||Wizz Air|
|Focus city for||Ryanair|
|Elevation AMSL||151 m / 495 ft|
|Hungary and Europe|
It offers international connections primarily within Europe, but also to Africa, to the Middle East, to North America and to the Far East.
From June 2015, transatlantic flights were restored with two carriers flying to Toronto and Montreal. In 2017 LOT Polish Airlines announced direct flights to New York and Chicago, followed by the new route to Philadelphia by American Airlines.
In 2016, the airport handled 11.4 million passengers. In 2012 it experienced a significant drop in aircraft movements and handled cargo, primarily due to the collapse of Malév Hungarian Airlines earlier in the year, hence losing a large portion of connecting passengers. It had been the hub for Malév until the airline's bankruptcy on 3 February 2012.  The airport serves as a hub for Wizz Air and as a base for Ryanair.
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Originally called Budapest Ferihegy International Airport (Budapest Ferihegy Nemzetközi Repülőtér), on 25 March 2011 it was officially renamed Budapest Ferenc Liszt International Airport, in honor of the Hungarian pianist and composer Franz Liszt (Modern Hungarian: Liszt Ferenc.) Popularly, the airport is still called Ferihegy as before.
Ferihegy is the name of the neighbourhood around the airport. The name is derived from that of Ferenc Xavér Mayerffy (1776–1845), the former owner of an estate who established vineyards and contributed to the development of viticulture in Pest-Buda. "Feri" is a diminutive form of Ferenc while "hegy" means hill. In fact the area is almost totally flat; but originally there was a 147 m high sandy hillock which was levelled in the 1940s during the constructions works of the airport.
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Designing and construction (1939–1944)Edit
In 1938 the idea of building a new airport in Budapest was born. The area in the boundary of three settlements (Pestszentlőrinc, Rákoshegy and Vecsés) was assigned as the area of the new airport. The airport was intended as jointly for civil-military-sporting purposes. Civil facilities were to be built up in the north-western and military ones in the south-western section. Just as for each building, a public tender was invited for the designing and construction of the traffic building.
In December 1939, upon announcement of the results of the tender invited in September that year, the designs of Károly Dávid Jr. (1903–1973) were chosen. The designer, who was one of the originators of modern Hungarian architectural art, dreamt of a building which resembled an aircraft from the top-side view. The work commenced in 1942. To approach the airport from the city, a 16-kilometre (10 mi) high-speed road was constructed between 1940 and 1943, which, after improvements, remains in use today.
The military buildings were constructed parallel to the civil construction from 1940 but, due to the war situation, faster. Aviation started at the airport in 1943. In wartime, the civil construction slowed down and then stopped at the beginning of 1944. Towards the end of World War II, many of the airport buildings were damaged. By the end 1944, Budapest and its airport were under Soviet occupation.
In 1947 it was decided that the airport would be reconstructed for civil aviation. Under the three-year plan 40 million forints were voted for those works. The opening ceremony was held in May 1950 and the sections finished allowed Magyar-Szovjet Polgári Légiforgalmi Rt. (Hungarian-Soviet Civil Aviation Co. Ltd. – MASZOVLET), established in 1946, to operate here. At that time the airlines operated only a few foreign flights, in particular those to Prague, Bucharest, Warsaw and Sofia.
Magyar Légiforgalmi Vállalat (Hungarian Airlines – Malév) was established on 25 November 1954. The first regular flight taking off from the airport to the West was the Malév's flight into Vienna in summer 1956. The first Western airline which launched a flight to Budapest was KLM Royal Dutch Airlines in 1957. The traffic building was finished in this period and the lengthening works of the 2,500-metre (8,202 ft) runway were started. At the end of 1958 the runway was lengthened to 3,010 metres (9,875 ft) and taxiway D was finished.
Continued growth (1960–1980)Edit
Between its opening and 1960, the number of landings at the Airport increased from 4,786 to 17,133, with passenger traffic increasing from 49,955 to 359,338 by 1960.
In 1965, a study was made on the development of the airport, which was implemented with more than a 10-year delay from the end of the 1970s. Aviation, airport, and flight control all called for more capacity and infrastructure. The Aviation and Airport Directorate (LRI) was established on 1 January 1973 and performed as an airline company, a trade company, and an authority, as well as investment, operator, and air navigation tasks.
In 1974, passenger traffic reached one million. In 1977, a new control tower was built, as well as a second runway parallel to the old one and a technical base for maintaining MALÉV aircraft. Use of the new 3,707-metre (12,162 ft) runway was started in September 1983.
New infrastructure (1980–2000)Edit
In 1980, the number of landing aircraft and passengers served reached 32,642 and 1,780,000, respectively. The growing number of passengers called for more capacity. A new terminal was decided upon. The foundation-stone of the new passenger traffic building to be built was laid down on 16 November 1983. Since 1 November 1985, passengers have been received in Terminal 2, a 24,000-square-meter facility funded with Austrian loans under general contracting. It was used first by Malév aircraft and passengers, and then by those of Lufthansa, Air France, and Swissair. The old terminal continued to receive residual airline traffic under a new name, Terminal 1.
There was an IED bus attack against Russian Jewish emigrants on the road leading to Ferihegy in the early 1990s. The perpetrators were members of the German Communist organisation Red Army Faction.
In 1993, Malév launched the airport's first Hungarian overseas flight, to New York. According to the traffic figures forecast for the millennium, the two terminals serving 4 million passengers a year promised to be insufficient. The construction of Terminal 2B was started in 1997. The new building, with more than 30,000 square meters of space, together with a new apron, was opened in 1998, with all foreign airlines moving there. Terminal 2B can receive 3.5 million passengers a year, with its seven gates and five remote stands.
Public to public-private ownership (2000–2012)Edit
On 8 December 2005, a 75% stake in Ferihegy Airport was bought by BAA plc for 464.5 billion HUF (approx. 2.1 billion USD), including the right of operation for 75 years. On 20 October 2006, BAA announced intentions to sell its stake in Budapest Airport to a consortium led by the German airports group, HOCHTIEF AirPort GmbH, subject to the consent of the Hungarian State.
On 18 April 2007, the renovation of Terminal 1 at Ferihegy was awarded Europe's most prestigious heritage preservation prize, the Europa Nostra award. The designers, contractors, builders and investors (the latter being BA) received the joint award of the European Commission and of the pan-European heritage preservation organisation Europa Nostra for the renovation of the protected monument spaces, the central hall, the gallery and the furniture at T1.
On 6 June 2007, BAA and a consortium led by HOCHTIEF AirPort (HTA) formally closed and completed the transaction of the sale of BAA's shares in Budapest Airport (BA) to the HOCHTIEF AirPort Consortium. The ownership of the HOCHTIEF AirPort Consortium was as follows: HOCHTIEF AirPort (49.666%) and three financial investors: Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec, Montreal (23.167%), GIC Special Investments, Singapore (23.167%) and KfW IPEX-Bank, Frankfurt (4.0%).
On 26 July 2010, after completing a security oversight investigation in May, the EU authorities revoked Budapest Airport's official "Schengen Clear" certification, due to serious lapses observed in personal security check procedures and unauthorised passing of banned objects. This meant passenger connecting via another airport in the Schengen Zone would have to be rescreened through security, just as foreign non-Schengen connecting passengers, causing delays and inconvieniance. The airport argued that it had not yet had time to fully implement new security measures introduced on 29 April 2010, and inspired by the Delta Air Lines' Amsterdam "underwear bomb scare" incident. The airports layout was also cited as an excuse for the failure. Budapest Airport was the first airport to be checked through a stringent undercover evaluation for compliance with the new regulation. (Hungarian state news agency MTI reports: [permanent dead link]) In response additional security measures were immediately implemented at Budapest Airport causing flight delays at both terminals. Unusually long passenger waiting queues were observed at the more busy 2A-B terminal complex's departures area. These problems were solved over time, especially through the opening of the SkyCourt terminal including a central security zone.
On 15 November 2010, Budapest Airport regained the "Schengen Clear"-status, after implementing the necessary security actions and after that the airport underwent the strict re-inspection.
On 16 March 2011, the name of Budapest Ferihegy International Airport was changed to Budapest Ferenc Liszt International Airport.
Sky Court, the new expansion project including shops, restaurants and lounges, also connecting Terminals 2A and 2B was opened on 27 March 2011. In summer that year, the refurbishing of the old terminal parts in T2 began and was completed in 2012.
Collapse of Malév and aftermath (2012–)Edit
In the wake of the collapse of Malév, Ryanair announced that it would expand its flights to Liszt airport. Ryanair began selling the flight tickets to the public, but Budapest airport said that the company had not secured all of the necessary slots (which was later negotiated successfully). By 9 February 2012, only six days after the collapse of the Hungarian national carrier, Liszt Ferenc Airport had recovered over 60% of its point to point traffic. Airlines that announced that new services would begin included Wizz Air, Aegean Airlines, Air Berlin, Lufthansa, and Ryanair.
However, the airport had lost Malév's transfer passengers, which, prior to the airline's collapse, had amounted to 1.5 million passengers per year. A second effect of the Malév collapse was that the areas used to service the Malév fleet would no longer generate revenue even once point to point traffic had been restored. These factors created significant financial shortfalls in the airport's revenues.
In February 2012 Hainan Airlines announced that they would cease services to Beijing from Budapest. Prior to the collapse of Malév, Hainan had a partnership with Malév, which included a codeshare.
In May 2013 Hochtief Group announced the sale of its Airports unit HOCHTIEF AirPort which held a stake in the Budapest Airport and other airports to the Canadian Pension fund Public Sector Pension Investment Board (PSP Investments). Following the sale HOCHTIEF AirPort was renamed AviAlliance.
As of July 2015, the ownership of the Budapest Airport is as follows: AviAlliance (52.666%) owned by PSP Investments, Canada, Malton Investment (22.167%) owned by GIC Special Investments, Singapore, Caisse de depôt et placemen de Québec, Canada (20.167%) and KfW IPEX-Bank, Germany (5%).
New Era (present days)Edit
In 2014 Emirates opened daily flights to Dubai, UAE. It was followed by Air China's flights to Beijing Capital and an Air Transat connection to Toronto Pearson. As a response for that Air Canada started their operation to Budapest by Air Canada Rouge. By 2017 Air Canada Rouge has taken over the market completely.
In July 2017, LOT Polish Airlines announced the commencement of direct flights to Chicago and New York scheduled to start in 2018, making them the first flights to the United States since Delta and American Airlines stopped flying to Budapest in 2011. New York will be served four times, Chicago twice a week with LOT's flagship Boeing 787 Dreamliner.
An expenditure of 261 million euros was spent in order to expanding and modernising the airports infrastructure until December 2012. Several of these future projects involve about further 300 million euros, and depends on regulatory decisions as well as third-party investors. Among the finished and the further planned projects are:
- Finished projects
- Internal and external refurbishment of Terminal 2A and 2B (done as of 27 March 2011)
- Construction of the SkyCourt (done as of summer 2012)
- Apron development (done as of 27 March 2011)
- Car park extension (partly done by the end of 2016 but will be continued in the future)
- Development of a business area (first building for DHL opened on 13 August 2013)
- Planned projects
- New cross docking facility for DHL and TNT Express (summer 2017)
- New Airport Hotel (construction started in 2016; to be finished in 2017)
- New pier for Terminal 2B (construction started in January, 2017; to be finished in 2018)
- Cargo City (started in 2017)
- New Terminal 2C (2020)
- Airport Hotel
The constructions of the new state-of-the-art ibis Styles Hotel Budapest Airport started in 2016. It will be situated directly opposite of the terminals 2A and 2B and it will have 145 rooms and conference facilities. It is scheduled to be ready by the beginning of 2018.
The airport's passenger buildings consist of four main areas:
- Terminal 1 is out of service since 2012
- Terminal 2A is used for flights inside the Schengen Area
- Terminal 2B is used for flights outside the Schengen Area
- Sky Court, a large central waiting and shopping area, also the connection of Terminals 2A and 2B
Terminal 1 (closed)Edit
Being located within the premises of Budapest, it offers faster public transport time to the city center, compared to the Terminal 2 about 7 kilometers farther. (Terminal 1 offers an about 20 minutes direct train journey to Budapest city centre, while Terminal 2 requires an 8-minute bus ride to the train station).
On 14 March 2012, Budapest Airport announced that due to the traffic levels being too low in Terminal 1, extra capacity in Terminal 2, and cost saving, Terminal 1 will be closed temporarily.
On 30 May 2012 all airlines were moved to Terminal 2, the low cost airlines using now the check-in desks at hall 2B.
Sky Court between Terminal 2A and 2BEdit
Sky Court is a state-of-the-art building between terminals 2A and 2B with 5 levels. Passenger safety checks were moved here along with new baggage classifiers and business class lounges, such as the first MasterCard lounge in Europe.
New shops, restaurants and cafés were placed in the new building's transit hall. With the opening of Skycourt the Terminal 2 has become capable of receiving about 11 million passengers a year, instead of the former joint capacity of about 7 million.
The Schengen terminal, it was originally the "only" Terminal 2. It was inaugurated on 1 November 1985 for the exclusive use of the homeland carrier Malév Hungarian Airlines, and later renamed in 1998 to Terminal 2A. Its check in hall serves all Skyteam and Star Alliance member airlines currently. Within its boarding area (Gates A1-A19) and arrivals level, it serves all flights to and from the Schengen-zone destinations of any airline.
The non-Schengen terminal, it is referred to as a separate object, and opened in December 1998. Its check-in hall serves all flights of the OneWorld-alliance (intra- and extra-Schengen as well), as well as many other non-aligned airlines. For flights of the Hungarian low-cost airliner Wizz Air check-in desks can be found also at this terminal. But its boarding area (Gates B1-B19) and arrivals level are serving the non-Schengen destinations of any airline.
The project "Pier B" was started on 9 January 2017. The new state-of-the-art building will be connected directly to Terminal 2B. It will be 220 meters long and it will include 27 boarding gates and 10 jetbridges, which will be able to serve more wide-body aircraft at the same time. The pier was planned to offer flexibility for traditional and low-cost airlines, with the option of boarding via jetbridges, buses or walking directly to the aircraft. The project is due to be ready by the spring of 2018.
Airlines and destinationsEdit
The following airlines operate regular scheduled and charter services to and from Budapest Ferenc Liszt Airport:
Notes: ^1 : Air China's flight from Beijing to Budapest stops in Minsk, but the flight from Budapest to Beijing is nonstop. Air China does not have local traffic rights on Minsk – Budapest sector.
|Passengers||Change from previous year||Aircraft operations||Change from previous year||Cargo
|Change from previous year|
|2005||8,049,091||24.9 %||126,359||13.1 %||55,519||8.2 %|
|2006||8,248,650||2.4 %||126,947||0.5 %||65,151||17.3 %|
|2007||8,584,071||4.0 %||124,298||2.1 %||68,144||4.6 %|
|2008||4. %||2. %||4. %|
|Source: Airports Council International. World Airport Traffic Reports
(Years 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2011, 2012, 2013, and 2014)
|Updated: 17 January 2016|
|Rank||Airport||Passengers handled|| % Change
|2||Paris-Charles de Gaulle||427,443||1|
|9||Tel Aviv-Ben Gurion||301,037||10|
- Wizz Air has its head office in Building 221. Wizz Air signed the lease agreement in October 2010 and moved there in June 2011 with 150 employees. The airline occupies over 2,000 square metres (22,000 sq ft) of space in an office building refurbished after the airline's arrival. The facility, with open plan offices, houses about 150 employees. In addition, Farnair Hungary has its head office on the airport property.
- Malév Hungarian Airlines signed a lease agreement with the airport in the spring of 2011, agreeing to relocate its headquarters to the airport grounds by the summer of 2012. Due to the collapse of the airline, in February 2012 the plans to move to Ferenc Liszt were cancelled.
The best way to get into the city center of Budapest is by bus. When leaving the airport simply take one of the 100E buses in the direction of Deák Ferenc tér. The buses run in a frequency of 30 minutes between 4 a.m. and 1 a.m. and in order to make them more accessible the line is operated by low-floor vehicles. The journey takes around 35 minutes and costs 900 HUF. Though the service is operated by the public transport system of Budapest (BKK) normal tickets and passes are not valid on this line.
There is also another bus line (200E) serving the airport which runs between the airport and the nearest subway station Kőbánya-Kispest.
Another way to get to the city center from the airport is to catch a taxi. Cabs are available all day long in front of the terminal buildings.
Hungarian State Railways runs suburban and long-distance services between (the now closed) Terminal 1 and Nyugati Railway Station in Budapest city centre through Kőbánya-Kispest. The trip takes approximately 25 minutes. From Terminal 2 passengers need to take bus 200E to Ferihegy vasútállomás (Ferihegy railway station).
Mini buses and shuttlesEdit
Several companies operate airport shuttles taking passengers to any destination in the city. Other shuttles and coach services exist to outlying towns in Hungary, Romania, Slovakia and Serbia.
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