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Photo: www.facebook.com/BudapestAirport

The travel restrictions introduced on account of the coronavirus pandemic continue to exert drastic impacts on passenger traffic at Ferenc Liszt International Airport.

The expected annual passenger figure has decreased to the level seen 17 years ago, and the airport operator expects a traffic shortfall of around 90% during the fall and winter months as well. Since the beginning of the crisis, Budapest Airport Zrt., the airport operator, has taken all possible measures to protect jobs.

However, a headcount reduction amongst the employees of the BUD group has become inevitable, in the interest of the long-term and efficient operation of the company and to protect the remaining jobs.

The coronavirus pandemic presents a huge challenge for the aviation industry; the busiest airports in Europe have all registered a traffic reduction of around 70-90% since the outbreak of the pandemic. 1.15 billion aerial passengers have vanished on the continent up to August 2020, due to the travel restrictions introduced on account of the pandemic.

Expected passenger traffic at many airports, especially in our region, is reducing to levels seen 15-20 years ago; a fraction of what was originally forecast for this year.

Based on the estimate of the International Air Transport Association (IATA), passenger traffic at European airports will not reach the levels seen before the crisis during the next few years either.

Traffic at Ferenc Liszt International Airport decreased by 99.3% in April, when the pandemic broke out in Europe, compared to the same period in 2019.

Although passenger numbers picked up slightly during the summer months, increasing to nearly 400 000 in August from the less than 10 000 registered in April, the new travel restrictions introduced as of 1 September once again reduced passenger traffic to the level seen at the beginning of the summer. Currently, less than 3000 passengers use the airport per day, which is 6% of the traffic recorded last September. Based on the expected additional flight cancelations and reduction in passenger traffic, Budapest Airport expects annual passenger traffic to be around 5.5 million this year, one-third of our initial plan.

Budapest Airport’s 2020 business plan, prepared before the coronavirus pandemic, will not be fulfilled, neither in terms of passenger traffic, nor financial indicators.

The company has lost virtually all of its revenues on account of the near-complete halt in aviation seen over the past few months. It has therefore introduced numerous cost-cutting measures since the spring. During the redundancy implemented in May, Budapest Airport expected a faster traffic recovery. It therefore planned headcount according to the annual passenger figure of 10 million expected at that time, took all possible employer measures and participated in the government’s wage support program, to protect as many jobs as possible.

It has now become clear, however, that the travel restrictions valid from September and the slower than expected traffic recovery will result in another significant reduction in passenger traffic at the airport, over several months.

This means that with consideration for the safe and efficient operation of the company, Budapest Airport is unable to maintain the employee headcount corresponding to passenger traffic of 10 million, and another headcount reduction, expected to affect 236 employees, is thus inevitable.

During the months ahead, Budapest Airport will only be spending on what is absolutely necessary for the safe operation of the airport, it is sharply reducing the number of investments, and will allocate existing funds for core airport operations and salaries.

Thanks to the responsible financial management of the past years, Budapest Airport’s operation remains stable; the financing of the company is ensured. As operator, Budapest Airport is able to guarantee the safe and continuous operation of the airport and the availability of the staff necessary for this.

Budapest Airport will act as humanely and fairly with the employees affected by the headcount reduction as possible. The For The Employees Of The BUD Group Foundation continues to welcome applications for support from current or former employees in need, whose physical or mental health or social security is threatened by the coronavirus epidemic.

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Source: Budapest Airport

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