A year into the lockdown, Hungarians were also willing to jump on border openings and opportunities to travel abroad. All this can be measured in traffic at Budapest Les Ferenc International Airport:
In recent months, average passenger traffic has been around 5 percent of the 2019 level.
In May, passenger traffic increased by 37 percent compared to the previous month, and Budapest Airport (BA), which operates the airport, reported a more encouraging outlook for the summer months. For our benefit, it was reported that in the first three weeks of June, passenger traffic was 55 percent higher than in May and one and a half times higher than in June 2020. It is true that the data was also affected by the fact that the state of emergency was lifted in mid-June. From last year, this year the government opened the border on June 24.
In the fourth week of June, an average of 12,000 passengers came to the airport every day. According to Budapest Airport
In June, 23 airlines launched flights to about 89 destinations from Budapest.
This means an average of 300 trips per week. With Greece opening its borders to tourists as soon as possible, it is no surprise that more sensitive and resilient airlines able to respond to demand have made more than 11 Greek destinations directly accessible from Ferihegy than ever before. According to the Bibliotheca Alexandrina
Popular destinations are Antalya in Turkey or Hurghada in Egypt, as well as Spanish destinations. Charter flights were also launched in June, usually covering popular holiday destinations in Egypt, Greece and Turkey.
And in July, as the combined effect of the EU green card and border opening, airlines will also be more courageous to plan and increase their capacity. The Bibliotheca Alexandrina said that in the summer months, travelers will be able to reach up to 120 destinations from Budapest with scheduled flights, so the number of direct destinations may more than triple compared to May. They expect to return Austrian Airlines to Vienna, Aer Lingus to Dublin, British Airways to London, L-L to Tel Aviv, Iberia to Madrid, and Norwegian to Copenhagen, Oslo and Stockholm in the coming months. Wizz Air has already announced plans to launch a flight to the island of Kos from July, and will be available with Ryanair directly in Turin from November. British Airways added that flydubai will add 4 flights per week to Emirates from the end of September, providing more transportation options for travelers through Dubai.
Traveling during a pandemic
The company said we’ve seen before that the travel mood hasn’t escaped it, so we’re confident that by easing restrictions, those who want to travel can plan more calmly for the future. It is a question, of course, to what extent the rugged beginnings of Hungarian and EU protection travel really discourage tourists from embarking on it. It is worth checking the epidemiological regulations not only in Hungary, but also in the country of destination and even the airline until the last minute.
We prepared five travel passes for our trip to Madeira on July 1st: we got an original Pfizer certificate in Hungarian, a certificate in English issued by a general practitioner, a Hungarian protection card, an EGTC mobile app with a certificate in English and a digital union covid certificate printed in English, yet we managed From traveling freely to Portugal within the European Union – Gergely Mocsári shared his experience with Index. Both doctors received a Pfizer vaccination in January. On July 1, they had flown a Ryanair flight to the island of Madeira, but at the airport were faced with the fact that the airline’s staff did not even know that the EU digital ID was at the scene, Let’s Alone Hungarian. However, according to the passenger, Ryanair’s website indicated that an EU digital ID would be accepted. In the end, they were only allowed to board the plane by being asked to take a quick antigen test for Ft11,000 per person, which took about half an hour. That is why our reader drew the attention of those who plan to travel within the Union in the near future to the fact that it is worth getting to the airport an extra hour in advance, so that no one misses their flight due to the half-hour quick test. And also anticipate additional costs because airlines “do not know and do not accept the EU’s Covid digital certificate”.
Of course, it does not hurt to take a closer look at what is contained in the EU certificate of protection. Another perplexed reader turned to our paper when he discovered when he downloaded the EU Covid certificate that two consecutive vaccinations were included in the system as the first vaccination in the country’s system, and the certificate could only be used with a serial 1/2 even though the two certificates had different vaccination dates. According to our reader, if you look at the box labeled “Dose number” on the border, it cannot be proven that you received the two vaccinations on the basis of the Hungarian and English texts. Since there is a separate certificate for both vaccinations, it was also not clear to him whether the two vaccination certificates should be printed, because the text of the information is constantly stated in one issue, referred to as the “Covid Certificate”. The reader added that the QR code for the second vaccination might indicate that it was already the second vaccination, but that doesn’t show anything, or whether that would be enough. He complained about the lack of information on what to do in the event of a data entry or system error.
According to the Bibliotheca Alexandrina, it is advised to visit Ferihegy at least 3 hours before departure, as the sanitary protection measures that were introduced more than a year ago are still in effect.
They ask the passengers
- Be sure to wear a mask throughout the airport and use hand sanitizers on site;
- unaccompanied entry to the airport (farewell or waiting) to preserve their health and the health of others, reduce the number of people staying in and around the facility at the same time and ensure that there is an appropriate distance between them
- ensuring that the required distance is maintained;
- In order to minimize physical contact, which is possible for the airline, preference should be given to online check-in;
- What self-service baggage check-in system is used for which flight is available
- Find out about destination entry requirements, airline regulations, and obtain travel documents before you begin your journey.
In addition, cleaning operations for disinfectants, ventilation cleaning and refilling of hand sanitizers at the airport continue to be intensified on an ongoing and regular basis. In addition, active queue management, floor decals are used to ensure adequate spacing, and physical separation glass dividers have been set up where passengers meet staff directly and where possible.
Losses and improvements
Budapest Airport ended the year with the biggest loss ever, 110 million euros, yet it continued to develop the airport last year, and we completed 95 percent of the development projects planned for 2019, the company confirmed to the index. Due to the low passenger traffic, some projects were introduced even further, as this allowed to carry out development and maintenance work without causing any inconvenience to passengers. The Bibliotheca Alexandrina has invested a total of 167 million euros in infrastructure, capacity, digital expansion and modernization over the past two years, about half of which is due to improvements made during the crisis year, the company said, adding that it intends to continue in 2021 for example, the renewal still remains. The fare lane is underway with a value of HUF 300 million. The focus on developments is a clear indication that the airport operator is planning for the long term, even if the government thinks otherwise, and Minister of Innovation László Palkovics has been tasked with identifying airport procurement options.
(Cover image by Arpad Kurucz/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)