Sichuan Airlines, the leading airline in Western China, has launched a cargo flight between Chengdu Shuangliu International Airport in Sichuan Province, China and Budapest Ferenc Liszt International Airport. The new aerial connection is another important step towards Budapest Airport’s regional leadership role in air cargo, which is also of key importance for the Hungarian economy.
The first regular cargo flight to Western China in the history of Budapest Airport was launched on Thursday. The first Sichuan-Budapest cargo flight by the Chinese carrier Sichuan Airlines will now operate three times a week between the Chinese province and Budapest, using an A330p2F aircraft. In addition to general import-export cargo, the flight will also focus on e-commerce, making the new flight capacity a lucrative trade connection for both Hungary and China.
René Droese, the chief development officer of Budapest Airport, said: “As a result of the excellent joint work with our cargo community, Budapest Airport’s role as a gateway for air cargo in Central and Eastern Europe is growing rapidly, especially to Asia, including China. We are seeing increasing demand for new cargo routes and for increased capacity on existing routes, and we plan to expand our cargo connections, besides Asia, to Western Europe and the transatlantic region as well. We are delighted to welcome Sichuan Airlines to Budapest and wish them every success!”
“The new aerial connection supports the success of the air Silk Road, as part of the Belt and Road initiative, further strengthening the excellent trade relationship between Hungary and China,” emphasized Peter Xu, freighter station manager of Sichuan Airlines. He added: “Sichuan Airlines’ cargo network offers integrated, customized and professional logistics services for both Hungarian and Chinese companies, and the new flight will surely become an important logistics channel for the export of high-quality Hungarian goods to Chinese cities and vice versa.”
The volume of air cargo in Budapest broke all previous records to reach 194,000 tons by the end of last year, an increase of 5.8% compared to 2021 and 44% compared to 2019. The growth continued in March this year: the volume of air cargo exceeded the average monthly cargo volume of the previous year by 4.3% and 2019 by 49.3%. This is exceptional compared to cargo volumes at other European airports, as the global economic slowdown has also caused a downturn in air cargo. It is important to add that the record cargo volume was achieved with fewer aircraft movements, with the number of cargo flights down 11.5% last year compared to 2021.
The BUD Cargo City, opened by Budapest Airport in 2020, is a solid base not only for the country’s economy, but also for all players in the supply chain, including the 12,000 people working in the air cargo sector in Hungary today.
The success of the BUD Cargo City led to the development of the facility last year, with the expansion of the adjoining cargo apron, the handling building and warehouse capacities. The expansion will increase the airport’s annual cargo capacity from 250 000 to 300 000 tons. This will provide a key competitive advantage for all players in the Hungarian economy.
Budapest Airport would hereby like to thank the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade and the cargo community for their work, whereby the role of the BUD Cargo City as an air cargo hub in the Central and Eastern European region is continuously strengthening.