Ferenc Liszt International Airport handled 14.867.491 arriving and departing passengers last year, almost 1.8 million more than in 2017, up 13.5 per cent. Air traffic increased in 2018 by 12 per cent to an annual 115,028 take-offs and landings, thanks to better utilisation of aircraft with higher load factors.

The airport offered 134 destinations in 121 cities in 48 countries by 45 airlines in 2018. The aviation connectivity of Hungary has never been so extensive. Last summer was special in that for the first time four direct trans-Atlantic routes were available, with LOT Polish Airlines flying to New York and Chicago, Air Canada connecting to Toronto, and American Airlines offering daily flights to Philadelphia. While LOT continues to fly during winter, Air Canada and American Airlines will return in summer 2019 with daily flights.

Not only long-haul routes exceeded expectations but all segments of aviation performed well. Qatar Airways introduced a daily flight with a wide-body Airbus A330 on the Doha-Budapest route, and added two narrow-body connections a day through Qatar during the summer peak season. Wizz Air and Ryanair also grew their networks significantly; the two airlines carried almost 49% of the airport’s total traffic in 2018. EasyJet, Aeroflot and Turkish Airlines also had more passengers.

In 2019 the number of new destinations is expected to grow further. LOT will open daily two flights to London City Airport in February, Transavia will fly to Nantes, Ryanair will have Cork, Cagliari (Sardinia), Bari and Seville in the summer and China Eastern is expected to confirm a new flight from Shanghai to Budapest from June.

The share of non-Schengen traffic grew from 35 per cent to 37 per cent in 2018 in Budapest, so the opening of Pier B serving these flights was a timely investment.

# The new Cargo City, a 20,000-square-metre warehouse area, will be handed over this year.

Budapest Airport CEO Jost Lammers said: "Our infrastructure investments go hand-in-hand with the growth of both passenger traffic and cargo volumes. The new 10 000-square-metre Pier B handed over last year has largely increased the comfort of our passengers flying to and from the non-Schengen destinations."

"We are planning a whole new series of investments into the airport infrastructure by the year 2024 ranging up to EUR 700 million, including the design and construction of a brand-new terminal building next to the existing Terminal 2. This year we will hand over the new Cargo City of 20,000-square-metre warehouse area that will better serve the needs of the Hungarian export-oriented economy and the logistics companies behind them."

Budapest Airport has already launched a program of internal improvements at both Terminals 2A and 2B in the last two years to increase passenger comfort. In the first half of this year two more world-class passenger security lanes will be installed; washrooms, lounges and passenger waiting areas will be refurbished, enlarged or their capacity increased.

The airport invested more than HUF 145 billion into developing and modernising in the last 12 years. The flagship project was the construction of a new central terminal building called SkyCourt connecting Terminal 2A and 2B with state-of-the-art passenger security control and baggage systems.

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