Nagy: State to set direction of Budapest airport development

The Hungarian state, as a financial and strategic investor, will be the one to decide on the development of Budapest's Liszt Ferenc International Airport, the national economy minister said on Tuesday.

Passenger traffic at the airport could reach an annual 20 million by the end of the decade even according to conservative estimates if the developments are carried out, Marton Nagy told a press conference.

Nagy said French airport operator Vinci, the state’s investment partner in the airport’s acquisition, was an “ideal partner”, as it operates more than 70 airports in over a dozen countries, and as an owner it was interested in ensuring that the airport is run as efficiently as possible.

The minister said the government was exploring its options for financing the infrastructure developments needed for expanding the airport, adding that planning had to begin as soon as possible so that a third terminal could open in 2032. The planning and implementation schedule will be ready in the autumn, he said. The financing, he added, would not be covered solely from the budget, with concession agreements also being an option, as the cost of railway and road developments could exceed 1 billion euros.

He also said there was a possibility of involving a Qatari investment fund as a third investor in the airport. This will be decided by the current owners, he said, adding that the new investor’s stake could be less than 10 percent.

Nagy said the airport’s 3.1 billion euro purchase price was realistic and in line with market expectations.

In response to a question, the minister said the windfall profit tax on airlines will be phased out from January.


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