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BAKU, Azerbaijan: March 28, 2018. Silk Way West Airlines has reintroduced scheduled freighter service to Budapest after a two-year hiatus.

Following a first flight on March 18 to Liszt Ferenc International airport, the airline will operate a 747 freighter between Baku and Budapest twice a week on Thursday and Sunday.

Silk Way West BUDThe company says the re-launch of a Budapest service in addition to Vienna and Kiev is part of a European expansion program that will see more destinations added to its network during 2018.

“We have recognized an increasing demand for scheduled services to and from Eastern Europe, which we believe came along with the rise of the e-commerce and tech business in this specific region,” said Silk Way West Airlines CEO Wolfgang Meier.

“In the spirit of the ancient Silk Road, we want to facilitate this growth by providing regular shipping opportunities to Central Europe as well as into the booming Middle Eastern and Asian markets with the establishment of this connection,” he added.

According to René Droese, director Property and Cargo at Budapest Airport, the new flight creates additional export opportunities for Hungarian industry in Middle East and Asia markets.

Budapest Airport processed a record 127,145 tonnes of cargo in 2017, up 13.4 percent on the previous year, and 39.1 percent on 2015. Import traffic was 47.8 percent of the total while air exports were 52.2 percent.

The Central Europe hub began 2018 with a record 17.4 percent increase in January/February traffic to total 21,750 tonnes. According to Droese, the airport covers an air cargo catchment from Ukraine to the Czech Republic and from Poland to Bulgaria “where the relevant air cargo industrial production is booming”.

Budapest opened two new express facilities totaling 16,000 square meters last year as part of its €160 million ‘BUD:2020’ development program and will open a 20,000 square meter ‘Cargo City’ in the second quarter of 2019 to expand cargo handling capacity to 250,000 tonnes per year.

Silk Way West Airlines‘ operates 10 B747 freighters connecting China, Central Asia, the Middle East, Europe, Africa and North America via Baku.

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