New Terminal Building Handed Over at Budapest Airport Replacing Low Cost ‘Container Building’
Fanni Kaszás 2020.01.15.
A new addition opened at Budapest Airport to serve low-cost airline passengers. The new wing of the Liszt Ferenc Airport was handed over on Wednesday, where low-cost airline passengers can wait before boarding their aircraft. At the same time, the so-called ‘container building’ is being demolished by the airport operator.
As we have previously reported, the “basic boarding gates” serving low-budget flights which lack seats, bathrooms, heating and cooling, was constantly criticized by passengers. Gergely Gulyás, Minister at the Prime Minister’s Office, said in a government briefing that the government gave an ultimatum for Budapest Airport Ltd. and the use of the low-cost “container terminal” would be banned by decree as of January 1, 2020, unless there is a change.”
Gulyás stressed that the quality of the low-cost service “offended human dignity,” and Budapest deserved more, as it has become an important center in European aviation. He noted that there were serious battles with the airport operator, but now it has come “to fruition.”
The 5,500 square meters, single-story building was built in half a year. The building is prepared with all the modern conveniences, such as air-conditioning, heating, restrooms, and waiting areas, several food and beverage services, and a smoking terrace to serve passengers’ needs.
After the test run, the new building will serve low-cost airline passengers from January 17th and at the same time, the demolition of the old building will start, so contractors can also start further extensions of the new building. As part of this, the area will be increased to 11,500 square meters and will be adjacent to two additional pedestrian and six bus gates besides the six existing gates. The total cost of the investment is HUF 8.3 billion, which Budapest Airport has financed solely from its own resources.
Balázs Fürjes, State Secretary for the Development of Budapest said the new extension should have been built eight years ago, but they inherited an “unhappy” state, caused by the privatization of the airport. Fürjes added that this was mostly due to irresponsible privatization of the last 30 years. He said that for the last two years, the airport operator took HUF 35 billion profit, adding that if the state would be the operator of the airport, they would run it by a much higher standard. The secretary of state said that Budapest Airport’s new management was much more open to co-operation with the government than its predecessor, which was also needed to reach an agreement on improving the airport’s existing buildings and on future developments.
Fürjes said that a study on the development of the expressway leading to the airport will be completed in January. It will be presented to the public development council of the capital, and if they agree on the development directions, planning can begin. Concerning the high-speed rail connecting the city with the airport, he said they had a valid building permit, however, the project could only be implemented with EU funding, and there is still work to be done to receive it.
Gerhard Schröder, President of Budapest Airport, stressed that the airport cannot develop without Budapest, and vice versa, which is why they are working closely together and developing their facilities. He added that airport traffic reached a new record last year, with 16.2 million passengers, 8% more than a year earlier.