The purchase of the Liszt Ferenc Airport was put back on the agenda at the government meeting in Sopron, as revealed at the Government Info press conference on 9 February. Gergely Gulyás, the Minister of the Prime Minister’s Office, said that the administration has authorised Márton Nagy, the Minister for Economic Development, to negotiate with the airport’s owners. At his state of the nation address, Viktor Orbán also confirmed that efforts are in fact being made for the nationalisation of the important aerodrome.
During another Government Info press conference, held on 25 February, Gergely Gulyás announced that he hopes to conclude the sale of Budapest Airport by the end of this year. The government’s intention regarding Budapest Liszt Ferenc International Airport has been unchanged for decades. As early as 2003, Viktor Orbán asked then-Prime Minister Péter Medgyessy not to sell the property, yet it was sold to private investors then. The current administration made reacquiring it a top priority.
There is a stated intention, negotiations are underway now.
The Hungarian government allegedly offered 4.44 billion euros (equalling 1,600 billion forints), for the majority ownership of Budapest Airport to the largest shareholder, the German company AviAlliance GmbH. Back in November 2021, the company announced that the consortium led by the Hungarian government had made a reviewed, non-binding offer to purchase the airport.
Back in December 2021, Viktor Orbán had this to say about the issue:
‘For the time being, I see no reason to finalise the deal of buying back the airport before the elections due to inflation and the instability of the international markets. We will wait for the elections, and then decide on the matter.’
The purchase of the airport has now resurfaced, with Gergely Gulyás stating that:
‘the airport is a valuable asset that brings enormous profit, and it is also a national security issue, so we would like to realise these well-known goals, already emphasised when the airport was originally sold by the Socialists, in the next year or the following year, at least partly in state or Hungarian ownership.’
When asked how much the airport could cost, the government did not give an exact answer to RTL Klub’s question. But Gulyás did admit that the state currently does have the liquidities to complete the acquisition, as ‘the purchase price is extremely high, so it would obviously help the Hungarian state if, for example, there was a minority owner who can contribute and pay part of the cost.’
The current owners of the airport confirmed to RTL that the government has in fact announced its intention to buy Budapest Airport again this month, however, they claim that negotiations are yet to start. As they wrote, despite not initiating the process, they are obligated to consider all offers.