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The Old World Flair: The Ferenc Lizst International Airport in Budapest

Budapest is one of the most visited Old World capitals, which offer many touristic options for travelers of every age and budget. The city is also full of international students and expats, as is it’s the perfect mix of modern living and old traditions. The city has the Ferenc List International airport, which in known as Ferihegy Airport until recently. It was renamed on March 25th 2011, when it was renamed in honor of the Hungarian composer Franz (Ferenc) Liszt, though the locals still call it only Ferihegy. Stay with us to learn more on the airport and how it can be of use to you when you will be planning your next trip.

1.Location: the airport is located on the Pest side of the city, around 20 miles away from the city’s center. The airport used to be the main hub of operation for the flag carrier Malev Hungarian Airlines, before its bankruptcy in 2012. Today, the Ferenc Lizst International airport is the main focal point for the two most popular low-cost European airlines-the Wizz Air and the Ryanair airline companies. On an annual level, the airport has the frequency of around 9 million passengers. Currently it has three terminals, Terminal 1, 2A and 2B. The airport operates with two runways with the cumulative length of around 20 thousand feet.

Airport Budapest Terminal 1 via Wikimedia Commons by Raimond Spekking licensed CC BY-SA-4.0

2.History: the plan to build a joint airport for civilian and military purposes has arisen as early as in the 1938. The designer who won the tender competition was named Karoly David and his design looked like an aircraft from bird-eye perspective. To make the airport area even more accessible, a highway was added in the early 1040s, which with minor improvements, is still in use today.

During the World War II, the military side of the airport has seen a rapid construction, while the commercial one was put on hold. The airport was open for civilian use in 1946, after patching up the wartime damage. The first flights connected the airport with the capitals of the neighboring countries. In the late 1970s, the airport operated trans-oceanic flights and a new control tower was added.

At the beginning of the 1980s, a new passenger terminal was added. Since that period up to today, smaller and bigger construction work is always done at the airport, as to keep it up to date with the passenger demands. All that hard work resulted in an airport which is always modern and completely user-friendly. Though the airport does not have the heavy passenger influx of Heathrow or Orly, the many low-cost connections make it one of the most popular and used European airport. Add to this the attractiveness that Budapest holds for tourists and you will have one small, but very busy airport.

3.Accessibility: the airport is connected with downtown Budapest via the main city artery, the Ulloi road. You can rent a car or catch a taxi. If you opt for the later one, be very careful as only one company, the Fotaxi Company, is licensed to use the airport ground. The city is completely overrun by illegal taxi drivers, so avoid to enter taxi vehicles unless you have telephoned for one yourself.

The airport has excellent connection with the city by rail and bus. By rail, you can board the HEVs, the long distance trains that connect the suburban areas with the rest of Budapest. There are separate HEV lines which connect the airport with the Nyugati Railway station (on Buda side) and the Keleti Railroad station. Both of the railroad stations are also stations of the Red Metro line which connects the two halves of the city and inter-connects with the two other lines, the Yellow and the Blue one (at the Deak Ferenc ter stop.)

The metro operates from 5 am till 11 pm. The bus line 200E leaves from terminal 2 on every ten minutes and it will take you to the last stop of the Blue Metro line. From there, you can hop the metro and change lines to another metro line, bus or tram. The city offers a great variety of public transportation uite cheaply, but bear in mind to have local currency, as the ticket boots do not accept foreign money. You can also book a private ride on a mini bus or the airport shuttles, which offer door-to-door service.

4.Facilities: terminal 1 is currently down for renovation, so the main passenger traffic goes through terminals 2A and 2B. Both of the terminals are completely equipped with lounges, waiting rooms with free wireless internet; many establishments to choose for food and beverages, as well as a duty free zone where you will find a whole range of shops.

As the airport is very well connected despite its distance, if you are stranded for a longer period, you can always opt for a short excursion and see some of the historical wonders of Buda or relax at one of the many modern cafes and restaurants in Pest. No matter if you are chilling at one of the airport cafes or you are hitting the city, make sure to try one of the many brands of excellent Hungarian beer or the Gundel pancakes, which are to be considered for national treasure.

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