Handover of the new Cargo City is scheduled for 2018 on the extensive development area next to Terminal 2 of Budapest Airport. Until then the current infrastructure will be enhanced to ensure that the growing cargo volumes can be handled, the airport’s property director, René Droese, has said.
Such a step is inevitable because the increase in air cargo so far this year in Budapest is flying, Droese believes. Traditional air cargo volume was spectacularly high but courier operators were also experiencing increasing volumes.
In September the monthly volume of cargo handled at Liszt Ferenc International Airport exceeded 10,000 tons for the first time, representing over 33% growth compared with September 2015. In 2016 annual cargo volume is expected to top 100,000 tons.
Several factors are behind this growth. Qatar Airways Cargo’s flight twice a week as of this March (and three times a week from October 7) meant a real boost for turnover, but the two other major cargo carriers present on the Budapest market – Cargolux and Turkish Cargo – are also performing strongly.
Airlines carrying so-called belly cargo on passenger flights (in addition to baggage in the cargo compartment) are also important players. Such an airline is for instance Emirates, which deployed a larger aircraft to serve the daily Dubai-Budapest flight as of last December. The cargo compartment of the Boeing 777 can accommodate up to 20 tons in both directions.
The Beijing flights of Air China carried a record volume of belly cargo in September, and the Toronto flight of Air Canada Rouge has also been successful.
The other driver of growth is the combined performance of integrators. The courier services fly out with their loads from Budapest during the night to major distribution hubs in Western Europe and return with new cargo at dawn. DHL, TNT, UPS and FedEx traditionally have a large piece of the cake of cargo throughput, and DHL is satisfying growing demand with a second aircraft daily as of this summer.
Thanks to the increasing volumes, the construction of a new dedicated air cargo base – called Cargo City in development plans – has become even more important and is expected to be completed in 2018 at the earliest after the completion of design, receiving of permits and concluding preparatory activities.
“We are working hard on commencing the process of development of the Cargo City, negotiating with potential tenants who may start or continue their activities in a state-of-the-art air cargo facility within two years replacing the infrastructure currently used by them,” Droese said.
Celebi, the operator handling the highest volume of air cargo, will occupy 2000 square metres more in warehouse capacity. Handling of cargo exports will be supported by both the enhanced environment and increased cargo screening capacity.
Read an interview with René Droese about the future developments at Budapest Airport in the next edition of The Budapest Times.