Budapest Airport closed an outstandingly successful year in cargo operations, exceeding 112,000 tons of cargo in 2016, representing an annual increase of almost 23%. With no stopping at the end of the year, air freight ranged from aircraft jet engines to a baby female hippopotamus, travelling from the Nyíregyháza Zoo, via Budapest and Dubai, to Jakarta, Indonesia, in the belly cargo compartment of an Emirates 777-200.
There were days when no less than three 747-400 freighters were parked on the apron at Budapest Airport, showing the density of cargo traffic in and out of Hungary. On 20 December, several hundred calves were flown to Israel from Budapest on-board an El Al Cargo 747 –a traditional means of transporting livestock between Israel and Hungary, supplying breeders in the Middle Eastern country. At the same time, aircraft jet engines were flown in from Chicago to Budapest by an Air Bridge Cargo 747, later followed by Air Atlanta Icelandic and Sky Lease Cargo jumbos.
The most unusual cargo item was, however, quite another type of live “passenger”: a baby female hippopotamus, born at the Nyíregyháza Zoo in Eastern Hungary, travelling to Jakarta, Indonesia. Transportation via a standard pallet-size waterproof cage, with sufficient ventilation, was loaded at Budapest Airport into the belly cargo compartment of Emirates 777-200 on its daily Budapest-Dubai flight, and flown to Indonesia with a stopover and transfer in Dubai. The hippo was not the only “special care” cargo item at Budapest Airport – in early November, 14 Przewalski’s horses were flown from a Hungarian national park to a sanctuary in southern Russia, to be returned to the wild, their earlier natural habitat.
“Budapest Airport, together with its ground handling partners, is ready to accommodate any high-value, special cargo that may emerge, including live animals for breeding purposes or thoroughbred horses for sports,” said René Droese, Director Property and Cargo, Budapest Airport. He added: “Last year, we witnessed an outstanding 22.7% increase in our cargo traffic –a clear indicator that the Hungarian economy is doing well, and the demand for export by air of high-value products, such as electronics or pharmaceuticals, is growing. Our foreign partners continue to find more and more advantages in flying their cargo directly to Budapest due to its central location in the heart of Europe. Cargo airlines at Budapest provide worldwide access for cargo and demand amongst logistics companies, for their efficient direct and transfer transport solutions, is increasing.”
This year’s cargo developments at Budapest will see the final stages of the construction of two new office and warehouse facilities, to be handed to DHL and TNT Express. Both projects are part of BUD 2020, a five-year development program launched last year, which also includes the construction of the Cargo City project, with 16,000m² of warehouse and office space next to Terminal 2, the opening scheduled for the end of 2018.