Budapest Airport is expecting cargo to grow five to six per cent a year over the next 10 to 15 years, cargo manager Jozsef Kossuth predicts.
The Hungarian gateway handled 112,000 tonnes of cargo in 2016, a record figure, and the strong growth has continued into 2017, with volumes increasing 22.7 per cent in the first quarter when trucking is included.
Kossuth told Air Cargo Week at air cargo europe on 10 May: “We forecast a stable five to six per cent increase every year for the next 10 – 15 years. We have a nice catchment area and with this region we are not competing with the Western European airports like Frankfurt and Amsterdam.”
He believes with road trucking that driving at 90 kilometres per hour for eight hours, Budapest is very attractive for distribution, and connect Budapest with neighbouring countries.
Many major companies have distribution centres and factories in Hungary, with Audi, Mercedes-Benz, Opel and Suzuki producing over 600,000 cars a year in the country.
Kossuth explained: “They have to order the parts for the cars so they are generating air cargo on the import.”
Companies are spending a lot of money expanding their presence in Hungary, with Mercedes-Benz doubling its facility 60 kilometres from Budapest, and Audi has the largest car engine factory in the world based in Hungary.
There are other major companies based in Hungary, including Samsung, which is opening a third factory, investing over €300 million in a battery factory for electric vehicles.
Added to the fact that major pharma companies have a presence in Hungary, producing high-end biotechnology medical products, meaning imports and exports are well balanced, at 52 per cent for the former and 48 per cent for the latter in 2016.
He says this is important for freighters and cargo operators, and adds: “All the big freight forwarders are present in our country, they are looking for direct solutions rather than trucking 12, 16 or 20 hours to Western Europe. They like Budapest offering a nice price and service and can use direct flights instead of extra trucking with extra costs and time.”
Kossuth compares cargo to a stream, it will find the right way and he wants the right way to end up in Budapest.
He added: “If there are obstacles or problems it goes somewhere else, it will always find the right way. We want to be the right way for cargo in Budapest and create an environment that is attractive for cargo. This will bring the volumes and opportunities to grow.”