The view from Budapest

The view from Budapest

Budapest Airport is seeing increasingly strong links developing with China as Hungary becomes a centre for e-commerce, writes René Droese, Executive Director Property and Cargo at Budapest Airport.

This June, we are opening a three-times-a-week passenger route with belly cargo between shanghai Pudong Airport (PVG) and BUD, and more routes are to be announced.

As well as increasing Chinese imports to Hungary and Europe, we are also seeing more and more interest in Hungarian export-oriented sectors like the automotive, pharmaceutical, and electronics industries in the development of air cargo in Hungary, and it is our mission to support this drive with further developments.

As part of a EUR160 million (HUF50 billion) for the BUD:2020 Development Programme, we are continuing to grow our infrastructure and expand our freight handling capabilities.

two new integrator buildings measuring over 16,000 sq m were opened to express companies in the summer of 2017 and allowed DHL and TNT to increase their cargo processing capacity threefold.

A significant part of the BUD:2020 program is the dedicated air cargo processing centre, ‘BUD Cargo City’, which is set to open in November this year, only a year after construction began.

This state-of-the-art 35,000 sq m air cargo facility, which includes office space as well, will handle freighters operated by carriers including AirBridgeCargo, Cargolux, Silk Way West, Turkish Cargo, and Qatar Airways Cargo, as well as belly cargo from other airlines, expanding the hub’s cargo handling.

BUD has experienced record-breaking year-on-year growth in air cargo volumes, which have increased more than 60% since 2015.

BUD set another all-time record in 2018, with 146,113 tonnes of cargo arriving and departing at BUD in a single year, a 14.9% increase on the figures for 2017, when 127,145 tonnes of cargo was processed at the airport and was also, at the time, a new record.

Looking ahead, it is clear that the air cargo community has played a central role in our growth, successes, and partnerships, and this November we hope to see you at the TIACA Executive Summit, which we are honoured to be hosting.

China, the sleeping dragon, is stirring, driving the rise of e-commerce and connecting the world. It is poised to become the world’s top retail market in 2019, displacing the USA, and, despite a slowing economy and the ongoing Us-China trade war, the popularity of e-commerce and rising spending in lower tier cities is set to boost China’s retail sector.

At the same time, Hungary, Budapest Airport’s (BUD) domestic market, has seen the e-commerce market grow at a rate of more than 27% in 2017. the record high employment rate in Hungary certainly supports the higher e- commerce consumer ratio. E-commerce has changed the way we all do business and, with so many opportunities, we have invested in new facilities and are forging new relationships.

Hungary was the first European country to sign a memorandum of understanding on the Belt and Road initiative with China, and BUD is playing a

significant role in building and investing in the relationship between China and Hungary by becoming a centre for e-commerce.

BUD has recently been building partnerships and cooperation between Chinese e-commerce giants such as, YTO, STO, ZTO, SF Express and the Cainiao group.

In March, for the second time we hosted a one- day forum with an investment and logistics delegation from shanghai, which included representatives such as Li Jiupeng, CEO of Eastern Air Logistics Co, Ltd (EAL), Chairman of the Board of China Cargo Airlines, and Chairman of the shanghai Cross-border E-commerce Association (SCEA). The third logistics forum is already set for the beginning of April in shanghai.

We have more direct and indirect (transfer) full freighter flight connections to and from China, as well as belly cargo connections such as the Beijing to BUD route operated by Air China.

For more information on the ES, contact Rachel Negron