Budapest airport is hoping to secure more long-haul routes to help boost transfer traffic at the airport, and in particular sees untapped potential among Hungarian carrier Malev's oneworld partners.

Traffic levels have been returning at the airport this year; rolling 12 month passenger numbers stand at 8.1 million and are expected to reach 8.2 million for the full year - even with the ash cloud disruption which hit its German and UK services earlier this year.

"There are two main drivers for us. One is the traditional airline side. We want to cover more destinations in the network," explains Patrick Bohl, Budapest Airport's head of airline strategy and development here at Routes. Budapest-based Malev quit long-haul flights in 2008 and the airport is keen to bring in more long-haul flights from Malev's oneworld partners, which could in turn also help boost transfer traffic and help feed Malev's regional network. "What we want to get is more oneworld members flying long-haul destinations [into Budapest]. We are actively trying to get carriers," he says.

The other main driver is low-cost traffic, which is catered for at a dedicated low-cost terminal. "This is growing stronger than the traditional side," says Bohl. "Wizz Air for example has grown 21% for the year to date and based a fourth aircraft at Budapest in July." Germanwings and Jet2 are also starting flights from Hannover and Edinburgh respectively. "Overall passengers at the low-cost terminal are growing 10% year to date," says Bohl

He also expects a further boost when its new Bud Future SkyCourt project is completed in time for the next summer season. The new facility is located between terminals 2A and 2B and will connect the two. "With both [terminals] being brought together we can use the capacity much more efficiently and spread the peaks," explains Bohl.

Source: Flight Daily News