Budapest Ferenc Liszt International Airport

In the 18th century, Xavér Ferenc Mayerffy, vineyard owner and winemaker, established a school for vine-growing in the area then known as the St. Lawrence Prairie. The name Ferihegy, widely used today and first mentioned on a 19th century map as Ferihegy Prairie, dates back to this time.

The Budapest Ferenc Liszt International Airport, formerly known as Ferihegy Airport, lies on the boundaries of Pestszentlőrinc (District XVIII), Rákoskeresztúr (District XVII), and Vecsés. The area is referred to as “hegy”, or mountain, even though it is almost entirely flat, the reason being that this plain consists of the Danube’s alluvial deposits and sand, with raised sand dunes of varying sizes on the eastern boundaries which seem to be as big mountains in comparison.

The construction of an airport to service Budapest was started in 1939,  with the civilian terminal meant for the north-western part of the area. The tender announced in 1939 was won by Károly Dávid, Jr., one of the key figures in modern Hungarian architecture. The specialty of the design was that the layout was in the shape of an airplane. Construction was started in 1942 but was interrupted by the war. As the traffic of military aircraft increased, civilian aircraft were grounded in 1944. After the ravages of war, the area was left empty until 1947, when the airport was renovated and opened to traffic on May 7, 1950.

The Hungarian Air Traffic Company (Malév) was established on November 25, 1954. The first charter flight servicing Ferihegy was Malév’s flight to Vienna, launched in the summer of 1956. The first Western air carrier that started flights to Budapest was the Dutch company KLM, in 1957. By 1974, traffic at Ferihegy had reached one million passengers per year. Terminal 2 was opened in 1985 and Terminal 2B was opened in 1998. The control tower was completed in 1983 and was expanded with two additional floors in 2000. In the summer of 1993, Malév launched Hungary’s first overseas flight, to New York.

In 2011, to commemorate the 200th anniversary of the birth of Franz Liszt, the airport was renamed the Ferenc Liszt International Airport.

The Hungarian airline ceased operations in 2012, which also required the closing of Terminal 1. By 2016, the airport boasted annual passenger traffic of 11 million. 2019 saw the completion of the BUD Cargo City world-class air cargo handling complex, which has functioned as the cargo gate to Central and Eastern Europe ever since.