Flights are arriving and departing seamlessly and as scheduled, passenger processes are continuing as usual at Budapest Airport. Flights to Ukraine and Russia are still suspended, but the war in Ukraine is not affecting flights to other destinations. The airport operator, together with the Airport Police Directorate, has developed a procedure for refugees arriving at the airport in groups and in an organized manner.
The so-called evacuation flights arrive at and depart from Terminal 1, where passengers fleeing Ukraine and wishing to return to their home country are accommodated until the departure of their flight.
Since the start of the war, more than 8000 students, mainly from India, Nigeria, Ecuador and Morocco, have left Terminal 1 on repatriation flights, and a total of 3200 Ukrainian citizens have arrived, who were stranded on holiday abroad and were unable to return home.
Budapest Airport ensures that all such travelers receive food, an internet connection and proper support.
Budapest Airport has set up a rest area with beds, blankets, food and drinks for refugees traveling on commercial flights departing from Terminal 2 within 24 hours. The airport’s own internal volunteers, as well as staff from the Hungarian Interchurch Aid and the Hungarian Reformed Church Aid organizations provide special assistance to those who need this, to ensure that they can spend their time at the airport safely and as comfortably as possible. Help from psychologists is also available in the children’s corner established for refugee families.
All refugees are granted free access to the Aeropark aircraft museum (located a short walk from Terminal 2) during their wait, and are currently entitled to a 12 EUR food voucher prior to their flight departure.
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The dynamic growth in passenger numbers at Ferihegy Airport is continuing; passenger traffic in February was up by more than 1000% compared to the same period last year. According to February traffic figures, 620,199 passengers used Budapest Airport, which is a strong increase compared to January this year, as well as last year and the year before, and is recovering step by step to our record passenger numbers for 2019. Currently, the airport’s passenger numbers are 64% of the pre-epidemic levels, and could reach 80% in the summer.
Thanks to Budapest Airport’s airline development team, the number of destinations accessible directly from Budapest increased to 104 in February, with 30 airlines offering flights to 37 countries from the Hungarian capital. The most popular destinations in February were still the European metropolises: London, Paris, Amsterdam and Barcelona, as well as the perennial favorite, Dubai.
Air cargo continues to perform steadily, with the volume of goods handled at the BUD Cargo City again exceeding 15,000 tons (15,578) in February. This brings the total volume for the past 12 months to over 190,000 tons, another major milestone in the air cargo activities of Budapest Airport.
From 7 March 2022, the government has abolished all restrictions on entry to Hungary. This means that, after 24 months, the state of affairs before the coronavirus pandemic has been restored, meaning that all air travelers can enter Hungary, without a vaccination certificate, a certificate of recovery or a negative PCR test. At the airport, only the normal non-Schengen border controls are carried out; all epidemiological controls have been lifted. Accordingly, passengers arriving from Schengen countries can enter the country unimpeded, without any documentary checks, while passengers arriving from non-Schengen countries are only subject to controls regarding the conditions of entry. The Airport Police Directorate has also reactivated the automatic passport gates, which allow for much faster passage to and from the country.
At the same time, the mandatory wearing of face masks in the passenger areas of Ferenc Liszt International Airport has also been abolished, but continuous hand disinfection and social distancing are still recommended. Despite the relaxations, Budapest Airport continues to ask passengers to choose online check-in and self-service baggage drop-off for all airlines offering these services, and to check the Consular Service website for information on the conditions of entry and current epidemiological measures in force at their destination. The majority of airlines still require passengers to wear face masks on board, so it is advisable for passengers to have a face mask with them.
Budapest Airport’s health and safety measures continue to comply with all international protocols, and the airport operator has been awarded Airport Council International’s (ACI) Airport Health Accreditation for another year. The recognition means that the airport operator continuously safeguards the health of those at the airport, based on best practice international guidelines, minimizing the risk of infection and facilitating the earliest possible recovery in aviation.
Although all epidemiological measures were abolished in Hungary on 7 March, the airport operator continues to make automatic hand sanitizers available to passengers, and regularly disinfected ventilation systems ensure a proper air supply in the terminals. In addition, Budapest Airport uses machines to allow passengers to check themselves and their baggage in themselves, without human interaction. The coronavirus test center continues to operate on the arrivals level of Terminal 2B, where PCR, rapid antibody and antigen tests can be carried out.
On 4 March, the new hangar building of the Aeroplex Central European Aircraft Technology Center (ACE) at Budapest Airport was inaugurated. The new hangar has a floor area of more than 8200 square meters, a width of 90 meters, a ceiling of 31 meters and it is capable of fully servicing wide-body aircraft.
Commenting on the opening of the new hangar, Chris Dinsdale, the CEO of Budapest Airport, said: “The airport’s services extend not only to passenger services, but also to businesses that are less visible to passengers, but are intrinsically linked to the airport, such as aircraft maintenance and repair. This sector is of great importance to Budapest Airport, and I am certain that the opening of the new hangar will further enhance Aeroplex’s already excellent business performance, which will also help to strengthen the entire sector in Hungary. This building of impressive dimensions and unique architectural solutions, constructed in just one year, is the result of a long-standing good relationship and joint work, and both Aeroplex and Budapest Airport can justly be proud of it.”
Budapest Airport has joined the International Women’s Day campaign of the Hungarian Business Leaders Forum (HBLF), which aims to raise awareness about women in leadership, as only 8% of the top 50 companies today in Hungary in terms of turnover have a female CEO.
Budapest Airport is committed to promoting diversity and ensuring full equality between all staff. In our selection processes, talent, ability and hard work are the only qualities that count. We are proud that within our overall management team we could increase the female manager ratio to 31% over the past years. In addition to the gender equality measures already introduced, the company is currently working on a long-term program to create further opportunities to consciously increase the number of female managers in certain areas, improve trainings, expand our mentoring activities, ensure a continued good work-life balance and support career goals for those that choose to start a family. Budapest Airport strives to set an example to other companies, through its corporate and leadership culture.
Budapest Airport Cargo has received a great honor and recognition: the Cargo team of Budapest Airport has been elected to become a trustee member of TIACA, the International Air Cargo Association. By joining, Budapest Airport will have unparalleled opportunities; amongst other things, to strengthen its international relations, work together with the most influential industry players, gain insight into the highest level of industry reporting and innovation and influence future decisions in the air cargo industry. Established in the 1990’s, the organization’s vision is a safe, profitable and united air cargo industry that embraces modern technologies and practices to sustainably and fairly serve trade and social development worldwide.