EASTERN EUROPE AIR CARGO SUPPLEMENT~ Budapest plans a new cargo village

Is there an Eastern European airport that could challenge the dominance of Frankfurt and Vienna in moving air cargo to and from the region? An ideal location and a €261 million modernisation plan may just be the ticket. Peter Conway looks at the potential. With the exception of Leipzig in the former East Germany – […]


Is there an Eastern European airport that could challenge the dominance of Frankfurt and Vienna in moving air cargo to and from the region? An ideal location and a €261 million modernisation plan may just be the ticket. Peter Conway looks at the potential.

With the exception of Leipzig in the former East Germany – due to become DHL’s main European hub this year – so far no obvious challenger has emerged. The problem has been a lack of modern cargo facilities at many of the region’s airports, and a lack of cargo focus on the part of the companies running them.

Budapest could be about to change all that. Ideally located in the heart of the new industrial regions of Hungary, the Czech Republic, and Slovakia, and offering lower costs than the established European hubs further west, the airport has already attracted the attention of Cargolux for Asia to Europe traffic.

But it has been held back by its series of small, outdated cargo terminals, which are generally considered inadequate for the needs of modern freighter operators.

All that is about to change as part of a €261 million modernisation plan for the airport, announced by its new German owners Hochtief, who acquired Budapest airport early in 2007 from BAA, the UK airports operator.