Budapest eyes larger regional freight role after record 2017

Hungary’s largest airport is establishing itself as a regional air freight hub, handling 127,145 tonnes of cargo in 2017. Starting this year, two carriers plan to operate flights to the U.S. from Budapest Airport (BUD), and next year, the airport will open a 20,000 square meter freight center that will expand BUD’s cargo handling capacity to 250,000 tonnes per year.

The airport processed a record 127,145 tonnes of cargo in 2017, up 13.4 percent over the previous year.

Budapest has courted Asian carriers, with an eye to attracting more e-commerce traffic. “Our cooperation agreement with STO Express and EKOL Logistics last year is testament to our continuous commitment to strengthening links between China and the European Union,” said René Droese, director of business unit property and cargo for Budapest Airport.

The airport covers a sizeable cargo catchment zone, from Ukraine to the Czech Republic, and from Poland to Bulgaria.

Asian markets are also important customers for manufacturing and agricultural exports from the region, with imports at 47.8 percent, and exports at 52.2 percent.

2018 is already off to a strong start, with January to February 2018 figures up 17.4 percent to 21,750 tonnes.

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