Best of Budapest ....
Hungary’s only hub airport just had a retail revamp that’s totally transformed it.
There is a lot going on at Budapest Airport! From April 2011, a major new addition to the gateway was opened to passengers in the form of the expansive and inviting SkyCourt, which links the A and B sections of Terminal 2 in the middle, and which is where a host of new retail facilities are located.
Designed by prize-winning architect Zoltán Tima, the €88 million SkyCourt increases the capacity of the Terminal 2, from just under 5 million to 8.5 million passengers per year. The building, which hosts all full-service international airlines, marks a psychological turning point for the airport in some ways; it has suffered to some degree from the financial difficulties its main carrier Malév Hungarian Airlines has had in the recent past which led to the carrier being re-nationalised in 2010 as a result.
To mark the new start, Budapest Airport, formerly know as Ferihegy, has also been renamed as Ferenc Liszt International after the country’s best known composer. Appropriately, 2011 is also the year the Hungarian people celebrated the 200th anniversary of Liszt’s birth.
In the new building, prepare to make the most of its 39 catering and retail outlets. Upstairs is essentially a large food court with views to the planes and aprons where you have a vast choice of dining options at all price levels. But it is downstairs where the retail therapy can really begin!
The largest of the stores is a vast duty free emporium from German airport retailer Heinemann. At 1,400 square metres, this walk-through duty free shop dominates the airside area • and is also unavoidable. From whichever side you enter the building after security, you have to go through the shop • which is no bad thing given that it had wide aisles so there is no claustrophobic feel, a vast array of product categories including a huge back wall that is dedicated to fashion and accessories brands, and a large section featuring just Hungarian products.
Among the fashion, jewellery and sunglasses names, take your pick from Swarovski, Oilily, Guess, Ray-Ban, Kipling and Aigner • all medium to high-end brands that have been chosen in line with the passenger profile at the terminal.