Budapest Airport and the Ningbo International Airport and Logistics Development Company have signed a strategic co-operation agreement in Shanghai. Ningbo International is an airport with significant cargo development potential, in China’s most highly developed economic region and about 200 kilometres from Shanghai. The parties expect the co-operation to increase cargo traffic.
The representatives of Budapest Airport and Ningbo International Airport established direct contact in 2014. The agreement formalises their increasingly close co-operation and harmonises with the “Opening to the East” policy of the Hungarian government.
The Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade, László Szabó, held talks with the Vice Governor of Zheijang Province and the Major of Ningbo city in Ningbo in June this year. Szabó welcomed the possibility of launching the Budapest-Ningbo direct cargo flight. He said it could significantly contribute to strengthened economic and trade relations, and further develop people-to-people contacts between Hungary and China.
The leaders of Ningbo Airport visited Budapest to gather information on development prospects in Central and Eastern Europe and opportunities for the launch of direct cargo flights. The subsequent signing of the strategic co-operation agreement was attended by Olivér Pál Pintér, deputy consul general of Hungary in Shanghai, and Wang Renzhou, deputy mayor of the Ningbo Municipal Government.
The document was signed on behalf of Budapest Airport by property and cargo director René Droese and senior cargo manager József Kossuth, and by director Zheng Zhiyin from the Ningbo International Airport and Logistics Development Company.
Ningbo International is one of the fastest-growing airports in the Yangtze River delta region. It handled 6.36 million passengers and about 113,000 tons of cargo in 2014. Its 3.2-kilometre runway is suitable for all large cargo aircraft. The economic significance of the region is further enhanced by its having a busy seaport. The airport plans to increase passenger traffic to 12 million and cargo volume to 500,000 tons by 2020.
Droese said: “The signing of this agreement is of great significance, since it is in the interest of both Budapest Airport and Ningbo Airport to have a direct cargo flight between China and Hungary in the near future.
“This agreement foresees even broader co-operation, as the competent specialists from the two airports also decided to exchange information and know-how directly. Budapest could be an ideal Eastern European logistics and distribution hub for Chinese exporters, since the 1000-kilometre catchment area of our airport includes no less than 19 countries.”
Budapest Airport’s delegation participated in the Air Cargo China Summit, an international conference bringing together the world’s leading air cargo experts, held at the Shanghai Expo venue. At Budapest Airport, total cargo volume increased by 2% and air cargo volume by 7.6% until the end of October, compared to 2014 figures, with the latter considered a good achievement even by international comparison.
Chinese cargo traffic is also growing dynamically, with the re-launch of the direct flight between Beijing and Budapest by Air China playing a key role. The flight commutes four times a week, carrying 10-12 tons of “belly cargo” each occasion in the hold.
Interestingly, almost the entire cargo capacity has been booked by Hungarian exporters transporting primarily electronics and pharmaceutical products to China, exceeding the volume of Chinese goods brought to Hungary by about a quarter.