Weekly newsletter

Budapest Flights Running Late – Subtle Air Traffic Strike or Just a Coincidence?

Tamás Vaski 2021.08.16.

The flight times of certain planes to Hungary have been noticeably extended after the Orbán Administration forbade Hungary’s air traffic controllers from going on strike. Since the decision being made roughly two weeks ago, certain planes travelling to Budapest’s Liszt Ferenc Airport have been obligated to take flight paths longer than expected.

It does not seem coincidental that more planes can be seen looping around Liszt Ferenc Airport before landing. The extended flight paths are the responsibility of no other than Budapest’s air traffic controllers, who have been legally obligated to stay at work after announcing in July that they would go on strike.

Flights to Budapest Suddenly Being Extended

Even the personal plane of Fidesz-ally millionaire Lőrinc Mészáros, which has been used by Prime Minister Viktor Orbán as well, was kept in the air for an extended period of time.

According to 24.hu’s information, the flight paths are made legally and in accordance with safety protocols. The late arrivals, landing 5-10 minutes after their scheduled times, can cause the entire airport’s schedule to lag.

Orbán Gov't Prohibits Air Traffic Controllers' Planned Strike
Orbán Gov't Prohibits Air Traffic Controllers' Planned Strike

The new legislations were published shortly after press reports started circulating that air traffic controllers at Budapest Airport were planning to go on an indefinite strike as early as this Tuesday.Continue reading

Air traffic controllers had been planning an indefinite strike for August after they were unable to come to an agreement with the state-owned air traffic control provider HungaroControl, calling for increased wages following a 30 percent reduction of air traffic controllers due to the pandemic.

Gov’t Halts Strike Attempt with New Law

To prevent the trade unions from going on strike, the government implemented the “measures necessary to ensure the safety of air transport during a state of danger and the swift transport of equipment essential to protect against Covid.”

This law essentially requires air traffic controllers to remain at their posts, disallowing them from going on strikes. The name of the law is also strange considering that it comes right after Hungary opened its borders to a multitude of new countries outside of the European Union.

PCR Tests Allow Travel to Hungary from Multiple Non-EU Countries
PCR Tests Allow Travel to Hungary from Multiple Non-EU Countries

The decree opens Hungary up to key trading partners, including the United Kingdom, the United States, Canada, Israel, Japan, and South Korea.Continue reading

Hungarian labor unions are in open opposition of the government’s restriction, since it overwrites the right to go on strike. They consider it “further proof that today in Hungary, the government uses every tool it can to make the constitutional right to terminate employment impossible.”

The unions are turning to the International Labor Organization for legal aid.

Featured photo illustration by Zoltán Máthé/MTI