Direct Flights from Hungary to US will be Resumed This Year; WizzAir Expands Further
Ábrahám Vass 2018.03.13.
iNew direct flights to the US are set to lift turnover at Budapest’s Liszt Ferenc International airport. Passenger numbers at Hungary’s main airport will likely see a bounce of between 15 percent and 25 percent thanks to new direct flights to the United States, the airport’s operator has said.
Polish carrier LOT is launching flights between Budapest and New York, as well as between the Hungarian capital and Chicago, while American Airlines is launching direct flights between Budapest and Philadelphia this year. According to Tom Lattig, American Airline’s managing director for European-Middle East-Asia sales, the Philadelphia airport is a hub for 100 destinations in the US, and passport control there is more efficient than at the big airports in New York or Washington.
At the announcement ceremony held back in July of last year, Hungarian Foreign Minister Péter Szijjártó highlighted that the fact that there is no direct link to the United States, despite it being the second largest investor in Hungary, represents a competitive disadvantage for Hungary. Direct flights to New york and to the US in general were last operated by American Airlines in 2012, but were withdrawn from the Hungarian market on 28 October of that year after Hungarian airline Malév went bankrupt in February.
LOT will fly four times a week to New York City JFK and twice a week to Chicago O’Hare airports from Budapest from May 2018. Photo: magyaridok.hu
In addition, yesterday Hungarian low-fare airline WizzAir announced the allocation of twenty-one new Airbus A320 aircrafts. Moreover, it will fly to four new destinations: Athens, Kharkiv, Tallin and Vienna, and will launch seventy new routes. Expansion in total will involve an investment of $2 billion USD. The Budapest base will get one more Airbus A320, bringing the total number of aircraft based here to eleven.
From June, Vienna will become a base of Wizzair which is the largest low-cost airline in Central and Eastern Europe. This move involves an investment of $570 million and the creation of more than 200 jobs there. Furthermore, Wizzair will add two more Airbus A321s to its Vienna base, and will launch new routes from the Austrian capital as well, such as to Nice in France, Reykjavik in Iceland, Catania and Milan in Italy, Lisbon in Portugal, Madrid in Spain, Malmo and Stockholm Skavsta in Sweden, and Kharkiv in Ukraine. The newest services will commence in February and March 2019.
In other news, air cargo turnover at Liszt Ferenc International Airport of Budapest climbed 11.5% year on year to more than 10,000 tonnes in February, operator Budapest Airport said. Air cargo turnover in January-February was up 17.4%.