Budapest Ferenc Liszt International Airport

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Budapest Ferenc Liszt International Airport (Template:Lang-hu) Template:Airport codes, formerly known as Budapest Ferihegy International Airport, is the international airport serving the Hungarian capital city of Budapest, and by far the largest of the country's four commercial airports. The airport is located Template:Convert east-southeast of the centre of Budapest and was renamed in honor of Ferenc Liszt on the occasion of the 200th anniversary of his birth.

It offers international connections primarily within Europe, but also to Africa and the Middle East. In 2012, the airport handled 8.5 million passengers and experienced a significant drop in aircraft movements and handled cargo, primarily due to the collapse of Malév Hungarian Airlines earlier in the year, hence losing a large portion of connecting passengers. It was the hub for Malév until the airline's bankruptcy on 3 February 2012, when at 6 am Malév ceased its operations after almost 66 years of service. Before its closure, the airline had more than one third of the air traffic at the airport,<ref name="BBCClose">"Hungarian airline Malev collapses." BBC. 3 February 2012. Retrieved on 3 February 2012.</ref> and about 40% of the revenues at Budapest airport originated from Malév operations.<ref name="ReutersSwoop">Dunai, Marton and Gergely Szakacs. "Rivals swoop in as Hungary's Malev stops flying." Reuters. Friday 3 February 2012.</ref> Today the airport serves as a base for Ryanair and Wizz Air.


Originally called Budapest Ferihegy International Airport (Budapest Ferihegy Nemzetközi Repül?tér), on 25 March 2011 it was officially renamed Budapest Ferenc Liszt International Airport, in honour of the Hungarian pianist and composer Franz Liszt (Modern Hungarian: Liszt Ferenc.) The change caused some controversy because the Committee of Geographical Names, which is the sole competent body in (re)naming geographical objects, suggested another version – Liszt Ferenc Nemzetközi Repül?tér, Budapest–Ferihegy – in order to keep the historical name. In retaliation, the chairman and several members of the committee were removed, two of them were fired. Popularly, the airport is still called Ferihegy as before.

Ferihegy is the name of the neighbourhood around the airport. The name is derived from that of Ferenc Xavér Mayerffy (1776–1845), the former owner of an estate who established vineyards and contributed to the development of viticulture in Pest-Buda. "Feri" is a diminutive form of Ferenc while "hegy" means hill. In fact the area is almost totally flat but originally there was a 147 m high sandy hillock which was levelled in the 1940s during the constructions works of the airport.


Designing and construction (1939–1944)

In 1938 the idea of building a new airport in Budapest was born. The area in the boundary of three settlements, Pestszentl?rinc-Rákoshegy-Vecsés, was assigned as the area of the new airport. The airport was intended as jointly for civil-military-sporting purposes. Civil facilities were to be built up in the north-western and military ones in the south-western section. Just as for each building, a public tender was invited for the designing and construction of the traffic building.

In December 1939, upon announcement of the results of the tender invited in September that year, the designs of Károly Dávid Jr. (1903–1973) were chosen. The designer, who was one of the originators of modern Hungarian architectural art, dreamt of a building which resembled an aircraft from the top-side view. The work commenced in 1942. To approach the airport from the city, a Template:Convert high-speed road was constructed between 1940 and 1943, which, after improvements, remains in use today.

The military buildings were constructed parallel to the civil construction from 1940 but, due to the war situation, faster. Aviation started at the airport in 1943. In wartime, the civil construction slowed down and then stopped at the beginning of 1944. Towards the end of World War II, many of the airport buildings were damaged. By the end 1944, Budapest and its airport were under Soviet occupation.

Reconstruction (1947–1950)

In 1947 it was decided that the airport would be reconstructed for civil aviation. Under the three-year plan 40 million forints were voted for those works. The opening ceremony was held in May 1950 and the sections finished allowed Magyar-Szovjet Polgári Légiforgalmi Rt. (Hungarian-Soviet Civil Aviation Co. Ltd. – MASZOVLET), established in 1946, to operate here. At that time the airlines operated only a few foreign flights, in particular those to Prague, Bucharest, Warsaw and Sofia.

Magyar Légiforgalmi Vállalat (Hungarian Airlines – Malév) was established on 25 November 1954. The first regular flight taking off from the airport to the West was the Malév’s flight into Vienna in summer 1956. The first Western airline which launched a flight to Budapest was KLM Royal Dutch Airlines in 1957. The traffic building was finished in this period and the lengthening works of the Template:Convert runway were started. At the end of 1958 the runway was lengthened to Template:Convert and taxiway D was finished.

Continued growth (1960–1980)

Between its opening and 1960, the number of landings at the Airport increased from 4,786 to 17,133, with passenger traffic increasing from 49,955 to 359,338 by 1960.

In 1965, a study was made on the development of the airport, which was implemented with more than a 10-year delay from the end of the 1970s. Aviation, airport, and flight control all called for more capacity and infrastructure. The Aviation and Airport Directorate (LRI) was established on 1 January 1973 and performed as an airline company, a trade company, and an authority, as well as investment, operator, and air navigation tasks.

In 1974, passenger traffic reached one million. In 1977, a new control tower was built, as well as a second runway parallel to the old one and a technical base for maintaining MALÉV aircraft. Use of the new Template:Convert runway was started in September 1983.

New infrastructure (1980–2000)

In 1980, the number of landing aircraft and passengers served reached 32,642 and 1,780,000, respectively. The growing number of passengers called for more capacity. A new terminal was decided upon. The foundation-stone of the new passenger traffic building to be built was laid down on 16 November 1983. Since 1 November 1985, passengers have been received in Terminal 2, a 24,000-square-meter facility funded with Austrian loans under general contracting. It was used first by Malév aircraft and passengers, and then by those of Lufthansa, Air France, and Swissair. The old terminal continued to receive residual airline traffic under a new name, Terminal 1.

In 1990, more than 40,000 take-offs and landings were registered and 2.5 million passengers were served.

There was an IED bus attack against Russian Jewish emigrants on the road leading to Ferihegy in the early 1990s. The perpetrators were members of the German Communist organisation Red Army Faction. There have been no terrorist incidents since then.

In 1993, Malév launched the airport’s first Hungarian overseas flight, to New York. According to the traffic figures forecast for the millennium, the two terminals serving 4 million passengers a year promised to be insufficient. The construction of Terminal 2B was started in 1997. The new building, with more than 30,000 square meters of space, together with a new apron, was opened in 1998, with all foreign airlines moving there. Terminal 2B can receive 3.5 million passengers a year, with its seven gates and five remote stands.

All of the airports runways are equipped with an ILS CAT II. Runway 31R is certified for CAT III A, enabling aircraft operations in low ceiling and visibility conditions.

Public to public-private ownership (2000–2012)

Template:Refimprove section

In January 2002, in lieu of the liquidated Aviation and Airport Directorate, two new organisations were established. HungaroControl became responsible for air navigation and Budapest Airport Zrt. for operation of the airport. Between 1998 and 2005, passenger figures at Budapest Airport doubled – from 3.9 million to 7.9 million and major investments were called for.

This time, the Hungarian State, sole owner of the airport, opted for a partial privatisation with the integration of a private strategic partner with international experience. In June 2005, the State’s privatisation agency initiated a tender for a concession. Seventy five percent minus one vote of Budapest Airport Zrt.’s shares were to be given to new private owners. The tender was finalised by the end of the year and the British company BAA, owner and operator of the major British airports, took over the management of the airport company.

On 8 December 2005, a 75% stake in Ferihegy Airport was bought by BAA plc for 464.5 billion HUF (approx. 2.1 billion USD), including the right of operation for 75 years.[1] On 20 October 2006, BAA announced intentions to sell its stake in Budapest Airport to a consortium led by the German airports group, HOCHTIEF AirPort GmbH, subject to the consent of the Hungarian State.

On 18 April 2007, the renovation of Terminal 1 at Ferihegy was awarded Europe’s most prestigious heritage preservation prize, the Europa Nostra award. The designers, contractors, builders and investors (the latter being BA) received the joint award of the European Commission and of the pan-European heritage preservation organisation Europa Nostra for the renovation of the protected monument spaces, the central hall, the gallery and the furniture at T1.

One and half years later, in June 2007, there was a change in the management when the new owner of BAA decided to dispose of its shares and sell them to the German company HOCHTIEF AirPort and three financial partners.

On 6 June 2007, BAA and a consortium led by HOCHTIEF AirPort (HTA) formally closed and completed the transaction of the sale of BAA’s shares in Budapest Airport (BA) to the HOCHTIEF AirPort Consortium.

On 26 July 2010, after completing a security oversight investigation in May,<ref name="eubusiness"></ref> the EU authorities revoked Budapest Airport's official "Schengen Clear" certification, due to serious lapses observed in personal security check procedures and unauthorised passing of banned objects. This meant passenger connecting via another airport in the Schengen Zone would have to be rescreened through security, just as foreign non-Schengen connecting passenges, causing delays and inconvieniance. The airport argued that it had not yet had time to fully implement new security measures introduced on 29 April 2010, and inspired by the Delta Air Lines' Amsterdam "underwear bomb scare" incident. The airports layout was also cited as an excuse for the failure. Budapest Airport was the first airport to be checked through a stringent undercover evaluation for compliance with the new regulation. (Hungarian state news agency MTI reports: [1]) In response additional security measures were immediately implemented at Budapest Airport causing flight delays at both terminals. Unusually long passenger waiting queues were observed at the more busy 2A-B terminal complex's departures area. These problems were solved over time, especially through the opening of the SkyCourt terminal including a central security zone.

On 15 November 2010, Budapest Airport regained the "Schengen Clear"-status, after implementing the necessary security actions and after that the airport underwent the strict re-inspection.

On 16 March 2011, the name of Budapest Ferihegy International Airport was changed to Budapest Ferenc Liszt International Airport.[2]

Sky Court, the new expansion project including shops, restaurants and lounges, also connecting Terminals 2A and 2B was opened on 27 March 2011. In summer that year, the refurbishing of the old terminal parts in T2 began and was completed in 2012.

Collapse of Malév and aftermath (2012–)

In the wake of the collapse of Malév, Ryanair announced that it would expand its flights to Liszt airport. Ryanair began selling the flight tickets to the public, but Budapest airport said that the company had not secured all of the necessary slots (which was later negotiated successfully). By 9th of February 2012, only six days after the collapse of the Hungarian national carrier, Liszt Ferenc Airport had recovered over 60% of its point to point traffic. Airlines that announced that new services would begin included Wizz Air, Aegean Airlines, Air Berlin, Lufthansa, and Ryanair.

However the airport had lost Malév's transfer passengers, which, prior to the airline's collapse, had amounted to 1.5 million passengers per year. A second effect of the Malév collapse was that the areas used to service the Malév fleet would no longer generate revenue even once point to point traffic had been restored. These factors created significant financial shortfalls in the airport's revenues.

In February 2012 Hainan Airlines announced that they would cease services to Beijing from Budapest. Prior to the collapse of Malév, Hainan had a partnership with Malév, which included a codeshare.

Future developments

An expenditure of 261 million euros was spent in order to expanding and modernising the airports infrastructure until December 2012. Several of these future projects involve about further 300 million euros, and depends on regulatory decisions as well as third-party investors. Among the finished and the further planned projects are:

Finished projects
  • Internal and external refurbishment of Terminal 2A and 2B (done as of 27 March 2011)
  • Construction of the SkyCourt (done as of summer 2012)
  • Apron development (done as of 27 March 2011)
  • Development of a business area (first building for DHL opened on 13 August 2013)
Planned projects
  • New multi-storey car park
  • New piers for Terminal 2A and 2B (postponed)
  • New cargo area (postponed)


Ferihegy airport has three main terminals: 1, 2A and 2B, and a smaller one for general aviation flights. A new air cargo base is to be built. Transfer between terminals 2A and 2B can be made on foot. The older Terminal 1, however, is located further away (i.e. closer to the city of Budapest) and must be reached by bus. From the city center, Terminal 1 can be reached by MÁV train directly and Terminal 2 is served by BKV bus.

On 30 March 2008, all Hungarian airports joined the Schengen Agreement and all Schengen flights moved to Terminal 2A, while non-Schengen flights moved to 2B. Terminal 1's low cost carriers were also separated by a glass wall into Schengen and non-Schengen traffic.

Terminal 1

File:Ferihegy 1 Lounge.jpg
Arrivals area of Terminal 1

From 1 September 2005, re-opened Terminal 1 served low-cost carriers. Terminal 1 is divided into Schengen and Non-Schengen boarding gates.

The terminal was totally renovated in full compliance with the requirements of historical monument protection, since the building is one of the finest examples of architectural modernism, built from 1939 (and interrupted by the war, then finished in 1950). The Terminal 1 is unusual in that it resembles the shape of an aircraft, when viewed from above, and is unique in style across Europe. For these reasons, the reconstruction received the Medal of the Europa Nostra Award.

Terminal 1 is unusual among low-cost airline destinations, being located within the premises of Budapest and offering faster public transport time to the city center, compared to the Terminal 2 about 7 kilometers farther. (Terminal 1 offers an about 20 minutes direct train journey to Budapest city centre, while Terminal 2 requires an 8-minute bus ride to the train station).

Building 18/A of the Terminal 1 compound houses the head office of the Transportation Safety Bureau of Hungary (TSB). The Directorate for Air Transport of the National Transport Authority (NKH), which governs commercial aviation in Hungary, has its head office inside Building 13 at the Terminal 1 compound. The head office of the predecessor agency of the TSB, the Civil Aviation Safety Bureau, was in Building 13. In addition Civil Aviation Authority, the predecessor of the NKH, also had its head office in Building 13. The terminal compound formerly housed the head office of ABC Air Hungary.

On 14 March 2012, Budapest Airport announced that due to the traffic levels being too low in Terminal 1, extra capacity in Terminal 2, and cost saving, Terminal 1 will be closed temporarily.

On 30 May 2012 all airlines were moved to Terminal 2, the low cost airlines using now the check-in desks at hall 2B.

Sky Court between Terminal 2A and 2B

The newest, state-of-the-art building between the 2A and 2B terminals with 5 levels. Passenger safety checks were moved here along with new baggage classifiers and the new Malév and SkyTeam (opening soon) business lounges, as well as the first MasterCard lounge in Europe.

New shops, restaurants and cafés were placed in the new building's transit hall, for example a Duty Free Shop, Hungarian wine and food shop, Herend porcelain shop, Frey Wille, Caprice, Costa Café, Burger King, KFC, Hippopotamus restaurant and a Gundel Bistro, affiliate of the famous Hungarian haute-cuisine restaurant in the city center. With the opening of Skycourt the Terminal 2 has become capable of receiving about 11 million passengers a year, instead of the former joint capacity of about 7 million.

Terminal 2A

The Schengen terminal, it was originally the "only" Terminal 2. It was inaugurated on 1 November 1985 for the exclusive use of the homeland carrier Malév Hungarian Airlines, and later renamed in 1998 to Terminal 2A.

Its check in hall serves all Skyteam and Star Alliance member airlines currently. Within its boarding area (Gates A1-A19) and arrivals level, it serves all flights to and from the Schengen-zone destinations of any airline.

After the security check at departures, passengers are going to the hall of SkyCourt. To proceed to Gates "A" there's no further control.

Terminal 2B

The non-Schengen terminal, it is referred to as a separate object, and opened in December 1998.

Its check-in hall serves all flights of the OneWorld-alliance (intra- and extra-Schengen as well), as well as many other non-aligned airlines. But its boarding area (Gates B1-B19) and arrivals level are serving the non-Schengen destinations of any airline.

After the security check, passengers can spend their time in SkyCourt's hall, and then proceed to the boarding area (Gates B1-B19) through the passport control. Within the boarding area there are further shops and a money exchange box as well.


Facilities include ATMs (except within the international transit area, where the passenger must exchange currency), bureaux de change, left luggage, first aid, duty-free shops, child care, post office, a chapel, restaurants, tourist information and hotel reservations. There are facilities for disabled passengers and wheelchairs are available from the airport help desks. A short walk away from Terminal 2 there is an open-air aircraft museum. Short and long-term car parks are situated close to the terminal buildings.

The airport has GSM phone coverage. Wi-Fi is provided by Telenor and 230 V power outlets are available at some places.

An open-air viewing platform for relatives and spotters is located at Terminal 2, currently closed for the duration of "Sky Court" expansion works.

Passengers travelling with frequent flyer cards, business class tickets or small children, as well as elderly and disabled passengers can use priority during security screening at Terminal 2. Stickers providing entitlement to priority during security screening are attached to boarding passes at the check-in counters. Upon presentation of the sticker, the security screening checkpoint may be accessed directly via a separate priority lane. With priority during security screening the travellers can save time.

Airlines and destinations

Scheduled flights

File:Aeroflot A319 Budapest.jpg
An Aeroflot Airbus A319-100 in Budapest


Seasonal Charters





Busiest international routes

Rank City Airport(s) Weekly Departures
(Summer 2013)
1. 20px London Gatwick Airport, Heathrow Airport, Luton Airport, Stansted Airport
<center>British Airways, Easyjet, Ryanair, Wizzair
2. 20px Brussels Brussels Airport, Brussels-South Charleroi Airport <center>39 <center>Brussels Airlines, Ryanair, Wizzair
3. 20px Frankfurt Frankfurt Airport, Frankfurt Hahn Airport <center>38 <center>Lufthansa, Wizzair
4. 20px Munich Munich Airport <center>33 <center>Lufthansa
5. 20px Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport, Beauvais-Tillé Airport <center>31 <center>Air France, Easyjet, Ryanair
6. 20px Amsterdam Amsterdam Airport <center>27 <center>KLM
6. 20px Warsaw Warsaw Chopin Airport <center>27 <center>LOT Polish Airlines, Wizzair
7. 20px Prague Václav Havel Airport <center>25 <center>Czech Airlines
8. 20px Rome Ciampino Airport, Fiumicino Airport <center>22 <center>Alitalia, Ryanair, Wizzair
9. 20px Tel Aviv Ben Gurion Airport <center>21 <center>El Al, Sun d'Or brand (by El Al), Travel Service, Wizzair
9. 20px Zürich Zurich International Airport <center>21 <center>Swiss
9. 20px Vienna Vienna Airport <center>21 <center>Austrian Airlines
10. 20px Berlin Berlin Tegel Airport, Berlin Schönefeld Airport <center>19 <center>Air Berlin, Easyjet
10. 20px Moscow Sheremetyevo Airport, Vnukovo International Airport <center>19 <center>Aeroflot, Wizzair
11. 20px Milan Bergamo Airport, Malpensa Airport <center>18 <center>Ryanair, Wizzair
11. 20px Istanbul Istanbul Atatürk Airport, Sabiha Gökçen International Airport <center>18 <center>Turkish Airlines, Wizzair
12. 20px Eindhoven Eindhoven Airport <center>17 <center>Ryanair, Wizzair
12. 20px Helsinki Helsinki Vantaa Airport <center>17 <center>Finnair, Norwegian Air Shuttle
13. 20px Bucharest Henri Coanda Airport <center>15 <center>TAROM
14. 20px Stockholm Arlanda Airport, Skavsta Airport <center>14 <center>Norwegian Air Shuttle, Ryanair, Wizzair
15. 20px Oslo Gardermoen Airport <center>13 <center>Norwegian Air Shuttle, Scandinavian Airlines

Other facilities

  • Wizz Air has its head office in Building 221. Wizz Air signed the lease agreement in October 2010 and moved there in June 2011 with 150 employees. The airline occupies over Template:Convert of space in an office building refurbished after the airline's arrival. The facility, with open plan offices, houses about 150 employees.<ref name="AirportHQ">"Property development." (Archive) Budapest Liszt Ferenc International Airport. Retrieved on 11 December 2011.</ref> In addition, Farnair Hungary has its head office on the airport property.
  • Malév Hungarian Airlines signed a lease agreement with the airport in the spring of 2011, agreeing to relocate its headquarters to the airport grounds by the summer of 2012.<ref name="AirportHQ"/> Due to the collapse of the airline, in February 2012 the plans to move to Ferenc Liszt were cancelled.<ref name="MalevHQEnd">"Csomagol a Malév a Lurdy Házban?" Ingatlanmenedzser. 3 February 2012. Retrieved on 4 February 2012.</ref>

Ground transportation


The airport is accessible by the Üll?i road. Taxis are available from the taxi stand, however only one taxi company (F?taxi) is authorised to use the airport cab stands. Additionally nearly all major rental companies operate at Ferihegy.


Hungarian State Railways runs suburban and long-distance services between Terminal 1 and Nyugati Railway Station in Budapest city centre through K?bánya-Kispest. The trip takes approximately 25 minutes.

Public transport

During daytime (4 am to 11 pm) the 200E Bus departs Terminal 2 every 10 minutes, providing connectivity with the Metro Line 3 terminus at K?bánya-Kispest. Journey time from Terminal 2 to the city centre (Deák Ferenc tér) is 50 minutes using the 200E bus and Metro 3. During nighttime (11 pm to 4 am) the 900 Nightbus departs Terminal 2 every 30 to 60 minutes, providing connectivity with the 950 Nightbus stop at Bajcsy-Zsilinszky út. The 950 bus travels to Rákospalota via the City Center (Deák Ferenc tér) and Nyugati railway station.

Mini buses and shuttles

Several companies operate airport shuttles taking passengers to any destination in the city. Other shuttles and coach services exist to outlying towns in Hungary, Romania, Slovakia and Serbia.

See also


  • List of airports in Hungary
  • Transport in Hungary



External links


Template:Airports in Hungary