Budapest Airport is likely to be the first place you will set your feet on Hungarian soil as you arrive in Budapest and Hungary. The official name of Budapest Airport is Budapest Ferenc Liszt International Airport and it has had that name since March 2011. Today it is the main airport of Hungary, and even though there are some small airports around at different locations in Hungary, Budapest Airport is the place you will most likely arrive if you come to Budapest and Hungary by an airplane.
In this article, you will find information about the history of the airport, the different airlines using the airport, and information on how to get from Budapest Airport to Budapest.
Budapest Airport currently has two different terminals, located only a few kilometers from each other. The terminal located closest to central Budapest is terminal 1, which is located only 19km from central Budapest while terminal 2 (A and B) is located about 23km outside Budapest. Not much of a distance, meaning that you normally will reach the city center of Budapest within 25-35 minutes if you travel by taxi or car directly from Budapest Airport to the city center.
Before the airport received its new name in 2011 the name was Budapest Ferihegy Airport. Ferihegy is not some very special name, it was simply the name of the area/district in which the airport was located. Many people still refer to the airport using Ferihegy, but on all official papers, it is referred to as Budapest Ferenc Liszt International Airport.
History of Budapest Airport
The dream of getting an airport in Budapest was born in 1938. Due to the war, it was delayed and they only opened the airport for civil aviation in 1950. During communism, most flights traveled within the former Soviet Union and other communist nations. In 1954 Malév was founded (the Hungarian Airline which went bankrupt in February 2012) and their first flight to the west went to Vienna in 1956. In 1974 the airport reached one million passengers in a year.
Due to the increase in traffic, a new terminal had to be built and in 1985 the new terminal, Terminal 2 was finished. The old terminal kept going continuously during this period, so now Budapest had two terminals operating. Traffic kept growing and growing after this as well so in 1998 a new terminal was opened, Terminal 2B. In the 2000s they closed down Budapest Airport Terminal 1 for some years to renovate this old building, and then it was reopened again some years later. Because of the bankruptcy of Malév in February 2012, Terminal 1 was closed again in May 2012, and all traffic was moved to Terminal 2, as there was no need for two terminals operating when lots of traffic were lost.
Sky Court is the newest investment at Budapest Airport Terminal 2. It was finished in 2011 and it has made the waiting time at the terminal much better. Inside Sky Court you can find restaurants such as Gundel, KFC, and Burger King, a large tax-free shop, coffee shops, and quite a lot of nice stores such as Szamos Marcipan, Herend and Frey Willie. There are also chances of getting a massage inside of Sky Court while waiting for your plane, so this makes life much better. This would probably first of all be an advantage for passengers waiting in Budapest for a connecting flight, but with Malév disappearing all connecting flight traffic has been taken over by Vienna Airport, so that was not the best thing that could happen for the traffic of the shops and restaurants inside the Sky Court area.
Airlines at Budapest Airport
From the reopening of Terminal 1 in 2005 until its closure in 2012 this was the terminal used by low-cost airlines such as Wizz Air, RyanAir, EasyJet, Norwegian, Germanwings, Air Berlin, and other low-cost airlines. Terminal 2 (A and B) was used by airlines such as Lufthansa, Malév, SAS, Delta, Alitalia, Air France, KLM, Austrian Airlines, Czech Airlines, British Airways, Finnair, TAP Portugal and some other companies.
Since May 2012 all traffic has been moved to Terminal 2 (A and B) so now all traffic to Budapest goes through these terminals which are located next to one another, if you get dropped off outside the wrong terminal (for example 2A) it is only a 2-minute walk to get to the other terminal (2B). The advantage of all airlines flying from Terminal 2 is that all passengers get to enjoy the Sky Court, which is much better than what they got after check-in at Terminal 1 (a real mini tax-free and so on).
How to travel from Budapest Airport to Budapest?
There are several ways of traveling between Budapest Airport and central Budapest. Here we will describe the preferred and most typical ways of traveling from Budapest Airport to Budapest.
Taxi on the spot:
The official taxi partner of Budapest Airport is called Fő Taxi. As you arrive at the airport you can find them standing inside the arrival hall, and if you walk outside the terminal you can also find them standing there. If a taxi driver approaches you and tells you that he is an official airport taxi and shows his card you can know for sure that he is not. Walk to the information desk of Fő taxi and book a taxi through them.
There are quite a lot of places where you can pre-book airport transfers in Budapest. The prices vary a lot from place to place, and so do the service and the level of the cars. If you would like a good private airport transfer in Budapest we can warmly recommend the services of Budapest Guide.
If you travel alone or with one other person the Airport mini bus (Airport shuttle) might be interesting for you. They have set prices and will bring you to the door of the place you live in Budapest. You might have to wait for the minibus to get full, but if you are not in a hurry, this works fine and it is quite cheap. In case you travel with three people or more it is cheaper with a normal taxi, so not worth thinking about the airport minibus.
You can easily travel to and from the airport using bus 100E. This bus leaves from Deak Ferenc square in Budapest regularly from early morning until late in the evening. The price for a bus ticket is 1500 HUF per person.
Practical Budapest Airport info
For those in need of WiFi while in Budapest, read out an article named: WiFi Budapest. At Budapest Airport you will be able to use free WiFi as soon as you check in to your flight and enter the SkyCourt area. In the arrival halls and in the departure zone the WiFi is normally not working, so this will first work as you get into the SkyCourt.
If you need to park your car at Budapest airport, read our article about Budapest Airport parking. There are lots of parking lots outside the terminals, so you just need to consider how much you want to pay for the parking and choose your parking area based on that.
If you need to change money and grab hold of the Hungarian currency, you should either use an ATM or change your money somewhere else. The changing offices at the airport have the worst exchange rates in all of Budapest. More about the currency in Budapest.