Posts Tagged 'Budapest'

Budapest Ferenc Liszt International Airport Opens SkyCourt

Budapest International Airport (BUD) has opened its new SkyCourt area, that links the existing terminals 2A and 2B. As part of the opening ceremony, the airport has been officially renamed to be Budapest Ferenc Liszt airport – to mark the 200 birth anniversary year of Hungarian composer, Ferenc (or Franz) Liszt.

Budapest Airport handled 8.2 million passengers in 2010 (up by 1.2% from 2009) and this new addition to the Terminal 2 block will nearly double the capacity of the terminal itself (from 4.5 million to 8.5 million) and enhances passenger handling and experience by adding 28 new passenger security screening channels, 50 border crossing points, 21 boarding gates, 80 check-in counters, 16 self-check-in kiosks and multiple retail outlets. The contemporary structure extends over five stories, two of which are underground, and offers an impressive view of the apron. Only from iron, 1200 tons were used, mainly for the roof, that spans over 80 meters.

The 24.000 square meter SkyCourt represents an investment of €70 million and is part of a €261 million, five-year expansion plan dubbed BUD Future, which aims to position the airport as a key Eastern European hub. BUD Future is co-financed by the EU and the airport’s owner, Budapest Airport Zrt, a public-private partnership with the Hungarian state holding 25% and the remaining 75% owned by German company Hochtief AirPort and four financial investors. BUD Future also includes the construction of a “cargo city” comprising 140,000 sq. m. of cargo and logistics terminals designed for airlines, handlers and integrators. The building is designed in a way, that together with the two terminals, it can later be further extended with two more wings and even satellite terminals to handle up to 20 million passengers at full completion.

Now work will focus on renovating and upgrading Terminals 2A and 2B, as well as the construction of a airport hotel.

The airport incorporates two terminals; T1 is a dedicated Low-cost terminal and T2 services traditional carriers. Budapest Liszt Ferenc International Airport is the base for oneworld member Malev Hungarian Airlines and is home to a further 32 carriers serving more than 92 destinations in 40 countries worldwide.

by balint01

Michael Goulian Wins Red Bull Air Race 2009 Budapest

It was a real surprise for Budapest, Hungary to see 41-year-old US Michael Goulian winning the Red Bull Air Race in Budapest.

He was eleventh in the championship before the race arrived in Budapest, thus it was a little bit surprising that he flew the best time among the top four.

Red Bull Air Race - Budapest

Michael Goulian

20th of August is a national holiday in Hungary. Traditionally this holiday welcomes tens of thousands watching planes flying over the river Danube in downtown Budapest on the riverbanks. The first Red Bull Air race took place here on this day some six years ago. Founder of the race, Hungarian Peter Besenyei finished 8th today.

Besenyei with the Parliament in the background

Besenyei with the Parliament in the background

This day is also remarkable as old MIG fighter planes (MIG-29s) said goodbye to the Hungarian audience as they will get retired from serving in the Hungarian Air Force. They have been replaced by Saab Gripens.

Another highlight of the day was that rally driver Sebastian Loeb flew a Red Bull Air Race plane over Budapest.

Loeb in an Air Race plane

Loeb in an Air Race plane

More news on the Red Bull Air Race on the official website.

(more pictures are coming soon)

By Szafi

Flight Review: easyJet

Route: BUDAPEST-London/Gatwick
Travel Date: 05OCT2008

Ticket Purchase

I have bought the ticket through www.easyjet.com, which was very simple and straight forward. After selecting your departue city on the homepage, it narrows down the list of destinations which are directly served from there. Also there is an option to indicate if you’re flexible about your dates. As I was on a business trip, this was not an option for me, I had to leave on a Sunday as the Monday schedule from Budapest to London pretty much destroys the full business day, thus it’s not an option… (I think with the winter 2008 timetable this flight has been rescheduled as an evening flight.) The Search Results still show 3 days, even though I have opted not to be flexible with my dates…

The least fair step of the booking process, comes after selecting your flight, where additional services are already added to your flight by default and the price of course is increased. This page looks very crowded, with loads of information presented in a number of different stlyed boxes below each other, making it hard to read and find the important information (“I’m charged with extra stuff”), which seems to be lost among the colored text and symbols. Third party taxes are of course OK, but why do I have to be automatically opted-in to Travel Insurance and 1 checked-in luggage with their associated costs? I can somewhat understand the luggage as probably the average traveller takes 1 larger, non-carry-on bag with them, but the insurance is really something that should not be opted-in by default! I can still add other items to the service, such as Speedy Boarding, additional luggage, and special sports equipment. This is the step when I can also opt-in to compensate my CO2 emmissions of the flight(s) booked. After having actively removed the Travel Insurance and the Checked-in luggage fee, I can continue to the next page to provide my traveller details, etc. Based on my preferred credit card type, I’m again charged with the extra Credit Card Transactional Fee. Only Visa Electron is transaction fee free… Once paid, I can already check-in if my flight is within 3 months from now! This is a very nice solution!

Offsetting Carbon Emissions 

Offsetting Carbon Emissions is very easy and simple with easyJet. As I already mentioned after selecting your flight you are presented with a very loaded page where you can opt-in for extras. One of those is the CO2 offsetting schema, that has already calculated the amount you should pay for this “service” and you can opt-in with just one simple click.

easyJet Airbus A319 (G-EZBU) c by Martin Stephen on airliners.net

easyJet Airbus A319 (G-EZBU) c by Martin Stephen on airliners.net

Check-In

I chose to check-in online, immediately after finishing my booking. It opens 3 months before the actual flight, it’s very simple, and you can print your boarding pass at the end of the process. It is very convenient as you can proceed straight to the gate with that piece of paper. The only worry I would have is that if I’m checked in 3 months in advance for a flight, I may simply forget about it… :) As easyJet is using “Open seating“, there are no seats assigned to the passengers, you can look for a free seat you like and just take it once you’re on the aircraft. With the internet check-in, one is placed in boarding group “A”, that supposedly gets on board after those who have purchased the “Speedy Boarding” service – to guarantee themselves as among the first people to enter the airplane. There is another group following “A”, which is “B” and includes those who checked-in at the airport. They are the last ones to get on the plane and can only select from “left-over” seats.

1. BUDAPEST – LONDON GATWICK (EZY 5444)

Aircraft: Airbus A319 (G-EZBU)
Class: Economy (one class layout)
Punctuality: Flight took off 2 minutes late, arrived exactly on time.
Boarding: By bus, thus the above described boarding groups were hard to coordinate I think. As I took the aft door of the plane after getting out of the bus, I probably entered the plane with my “A” group Boarding pass earlier than some of those going through the front door and having “Speedy Boarding”… I got a window seat without any problems. Flight was less-than half house, with plenty of free seats, I was the only one in my row on my side.
Seats: Regular seats with less-than average legroom
Flight Attendants: There were 4 of them, 2 young girls and 1 guy plus 1 older purser. Two of the girls were good looking, all of them were very friendly.
Meals: Meals are offered at an additional cost, you can select from a range of sandwiches and drinks including alcoholic drinks. Those who selected a warm sandwhich, had to wait about 20 mins before they got their heated up food.
In-Flight shopping: In-flight shopping contains a selected range of items. I have purchased a limited series easyJet model plastic aircraft only, as the parfume I wanted to buy for my wife has already ran out.
Entertainment: No LCD screens or such, only the In-Flight magazine of easyJet plus the In-Flight Shopping guide of course. Bring your own reading material and music player!

Onboard easyJet

Onboard easyJet

Overall Experience

It was exactly what I paid for: transportation from Budapest to London Gatwick, in a timely, correct manner without any frills. I would take this flight again, but only if I ever want to leave on a business trip on a Sunday afternoon as the schedule is not really good for travellers originating in Budapest. Totally wrong schedule for any Hungarian business travellers, as the flight leaves in the afternoon and returns from London in late morning, but probably suits London business people just OK. The pricetag: this one way flight costed HUF 41.400 or USD 255, with the purchase taking place 10 days before the departure.

by balint01

Red Bull Air Race 2008 Budapest – The Race

The race day was even more attractive than the qualification. Besides the race itself we could again see the B25 and the Corsair planes plus 2 helicopters making extreme maneuvers.

The race was amazing, Hannes Arch won, Steve Jones was the second and Paul Bonhomme became third. Peter Besenyei came in only as 5th.

Unfortunately I left the memory card from the camera in the card reader and I noticed it only when we got to the scene, so I could not take any pictures of my own, but I collected the best photos from rebdullairrace.com.

You can take a look at the pictures here or by clicking the image below:

Red Bull Air Race 2008 Budapest

Red Bull Air Race 2008 Budapest

By Szafi

Mike Mangold Wins 2007 Red Bull Air Race in Budapest

“You are cleared into the Track, SMOKE ON!!” – this is the tower command to the pilots before they enter the airspace of downtown Budapest and begin their Red Bull Air Race lap by flying under the Chain Bridge – which was actually the first stone bridge above the Danube river in the capital of Hungary, handed over to the horse carriages and pedestrians in 1849. In average the Air Race participants pass under the bridge with a speed of about 380-390 km/h, and this weekend they were usually closer to the river than the bridge, by having about 6 meters to the bridge and about 2,5 meters to the river. One of the pilots that flew the lowest was Péter Besenyei, who was only 1,9 meters above the water surface (which is actually less than my own height…).

The 20th of August is a national holiday in Hungary, to commemorate the establishment of the Christian State in the year 1000. But for a few years now, it has also been the “traditional” date of the Hungarian round of the Red Bull Air Race World Series, which in return can be attended by a large number of Hungarians as they are having a holiday. :) Hungarians tend to look at this race as one of their own events, especially as Péter Besenyei – the multiple time world champion of stunt flying – is one of the “fathers” of the Air Race. He came up with the idea of having to fly through gates around a lap, to bring stunt flying physically closer to the spectators. His idea was very much welcomed at Red Bull who became the title sponsor and organizer of such a race. It began as a single event 6 years ago, and has grown to a world series by 2007, with having 10 races this year from the US to Abu Dhabi, from London to Istanbul and “of course” in Budapest (for the fourth time). This year however has brought a new race order, first there is a pre-qualification round for all 13 planes, and based on their times, the top 12 take part in the qualification, from where the top 8 pilots advance to the semi-finals. Following the pre-qualification, Nicolas Ivanoff hurt his neck so today we saw only 11 of them competing for the top 8 places. Those 8 then compete in pairs (1 vs. 8, 2 vs. 7, 3 vs. 6, and 4 vs. 5) where the winner advances to the next round. So the top 4 will fly on the “circuit” 4 times during the day (qualification, semi-finals, knock out for the final and third place/final). The Budapest circuit is one of the most spectacular ones in the season as it is located in the real heart of a metropolitan city, between the Chain and the Margaret Bridges, where planes fly in front of the Castle hill, the Academy of Science, the Hungarian Parliament and of course the famous Chain Bridge. It is for the Air Race series, what Monte-Carlo is for Formula-1! The gates are placed on swimming platforms in the river drawing the path to fly.

Red Bull Air Race BudapestRed Bull Air Race BudapestRed Bull Air Race BudapestRed Bull Air Race BudapestRed Bull Air Race BudapestRed Bull Air Race Budapest

Photo: Airrace.hu

Red Bull Air Race BudapestRed Bull Air Race BudapestRed Bull Air Race BudapestRed Bull Air Race Budapest

The event itself is really something to see. This is the kind of thing that I would call “breathtaking”, especially when you see these planes fly with such high speed among such beautiful buildings, turning around, passing some of the gates sideways, crossing under the bridge twice in every lap and doing a few stunt movements at the end of each lap to “wave goodbye” to the crowd. Talking about the crowd: according to the organizers, this year there were around one million people watching the race on location!! Even if the reality was only half of that estimated number, it is still a huge crowd cheering for these guys!

I will not comment on the pre-qualification, qualification and the semi-final rounds, except that Mike Mangold really scared me once, when just after entering the circuit, he turned between gates 1 and 2, with his right wing almost touching the water. I could really see for a second that he hits it and crashes his white plane… But he didn’t, he was about 40-50 cms from the water, but it was amazing to see it right in front me, as I was standing in between those two gates on the Buda side of the river.

The top four pilots in Budapest in 2007 were Péter Besenyei (HUN), Mike Mangold (USA), Paul Bonhomme (GBR) and Kirby Chambliss (USA). Unfortunately Péter collected the only one, 3 second penalty of the day for flying too high in one of the gates when competing with Mangold, so he did not get in the final. On the other path Kirby was quicker than Bonhomme, so the finals were held between the two US pilots. For the third place Péter lost 0.21 seconds against Paul, so the winner of the first two races this year (Abu Dhabi and Rio de Janeiro) did not get on the podium on his home race. Péter has later told the press, that his engine had some problems, as the RPM could not go to the maximum, it stopped at about 100 rates lower for his last two flights today, which makes a difference in speed. On the other hand, Mr. Bonhomme, has been on the podium for 13 consecutive Air Races, which is a record on its own, and has lost his lead in the championship this weekend. In the final, Mike Mangold has won over Chambliss, with a very impressive lap, that timed at 1:12.85. This was the third victory for Mike this year so far: Istanbul, London and Budapest are his trophies from 2007.

The next round will be held in Porto, Portugal in only 11 days.

by balint01

Red Bull Driving and Flying Circus in Budapest

Budapest is hosting the 11th round of the 2007 Formula-1 Championship this weekend. This will be the 22nd Hungarian F1 Grand Prix. This weekend’s events took off with a small parade in the city center. As you all know Red Bull is the main sponsor of the Red Bull Racing and Toro Rosso teams. Red Bull on the other hand also sponsors the so called Red Bull Air Race. The idea of this air race came from a Hungarian pilot, Peter Besenyei. He has been world champion in stunt flying several times and probably he found it boring just to fly around, so he came up with the idea of this race. Besides pilots, we spectators enjoy it, too and downtown Budapest has been a traditional venue of the Air Race World Championship as well, on August 20th, every year.

The aircraft of Mr BesenyeiRed Bull Toro RossoThe aircraft of Mr Besenyei


So the point in the parade today was that we could see an F1 car and a stunt flight meeting up at the famous Chain Bridge in Budapest. Meeting up meant that Mr Besenyei flew through under (!) the bridge, while the Red Bull F1 car drove over it.

Besides this weird randez vous, there were several other interesting participants of this short parade today. Actually there was more action and more vehicles on the ground than in the air, but for us, airline world bloggers, the air stunts were more a bit more eye catching, even though we loved the cars as well. So besides the Edge 540 stunt plane of Besenyei, we saw the following cars: the Official safety car of the F1 Championships: a Mercedes-Benz CLK 63 AMG, several participants of the Dakar rally (Hungarians and Red Bull associates), the current Red Bull Renault RB3 and Toro Rosso STR-02 F1 cars driven by Mark Webber and Vitantonio Liuzzi, and then came some historic F1 cars (McLaren MP4 from 1987 driven by Gerhard Berger, two old Tyrells from the early 1970’s and a red-and white 1971 Surtees).

As you may know Red Bull is an Austrian company and as Hungary is a neighbouring country, they tend to consider the Hungarian GP as their “closest to home” race each year. Gerhard Berger has always admitted that he loves Budapest and feels home over here, especially as when he was still racing, many of his home fans came to cheer him over here. Now he’s a team owner but still likes this event very much, that’s why accepted the invitation to drive an older F1 car on the streets of Budapest after so many years of not driving.

And here are the pictures:

By balint01 & Szafi


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