10 ARRIVALS ISSUE • 08-10 APRIL 2019 • HANNOVER, GERMANY Budapest BEST DEST INAT ION R eceiving the most votes ever in the history of the award, Budapest can boast the title of this year’s ‘Best European Destination’. Add that to the capital city airport’s sixth consecutive Skytrax Award, it seems the country and its main gateway has kick-started the year in the same way it wrapped-up 2018. Handling an all-time high of 14.9 million passengers last year, Budapest’s passenger traffic has witnessed double-digit increases throughout the last four years – going only just below 10% last November, the airport so close to hitting 60 months in a row. Launching 18 new routes since S18, Budapest has introduced 12 entirely new destinations, including the much- anticipated US links to Chicago, New York JFK, and Philadelphia. Already announcing another 15 new services for 2019 – including three new airlines – the highlight will most certainly be the commencement of the airport’s first link to Shanghai with Shanghai Airlines, as well as the expanding choice of services to Dubai operated by flydubai. “We’ve had ongoing projects for many years now to show the continual growth in our point-to-point demand, to illustrate Hungary’s global economic strength and popularity,” explains Balázs Bogáts, Head of Airline Development, Budapest Airport. “Incoming tourism is booming. Registers show close to six million foreign visitors in Hungary last year, so we’re looking forward to a repeat success during 2019.” Unserved routes Budapest’s future aspirations are both short- and long-haul focused, with the airport’s new route shopping list seeing a bit of variety. Making top spot for most desired new destinations in Europe are joint winners Tallinn and Bilbao, both with more than 30,000 passenger market potential. While long-haul dreams and wishes go to Los Angeles and Miami this year. “Showing a round trip annual potential of 70,000, Los Angeles just pips the post at number one, but Miami is a strong contender with its own potential to bring in 60,000 passengers on a direct connection,” confides Bogáts. Infrastructure investment To accommodate the ongoing growth burst at Budapest, the airport’s infrastructure investments have been going hand-in-hand with the increase of both passenger traffic and cargo volumes. Having already completed a new 10,000m2 Pier B last year, the gateway will be investing €700 million over the next five years, seeing the construction of a complete new terminal building next to the existing Terminal 2. Only the second airport in the history of the Skytrax World Airport Awards to win the same title six years in a row, Budapest boasts ‘Best Airport in the Region 2019’ – a title which perfectly complements the country’s ‘Best European Destination 2019’.