Budapest Airport Ltd., the operator of Budapest Ferenc Liszt International Airport, has signed an expanded cooperation agreement with the Henan Province Airport Group (which operates Zhengzhou Xinzheng Airport) and Sino-Hungarian business and logistics development company CECZ/Utlink to boost cargo traffic between China and Europe using the Hungarian capital as a transit hub.

"According to the government’s plans, Hungary could become the cargo, logistics and distribution hub for Central Europe. This strategic objective can be achieved if the largest possible proportion of the goods transported between Europe and the Far East reach their destination via Hungary," said László Mosóczi, Hungary's state secretary for transport policy.

The agreement, signed on April 27, 2021, establishes Budapest as the Central and Eastern European air gateway for China's Silk Road logistics project. The signing was accompanied by the opening of a new dedicated warehouse at Budapest airport, called the Zhengzhou Exclusive Overseas Terminal. A similar cargo facility was opened at Zhengzhou airport in February 2021.

The agreement also formalises Budapest's status as a key regional gateway for Alibaba Group, a Chinese e-commerce giant, and its logistics arm, Cainiao. The transhipment of Alibaba's goods commenced in April 2021.

On the Hungarian side, besides a number of government bodies, the postal operator (Magyar Posta) and privately-owned logistics firm Ghibli have supported the development. The parties said they would continue to engage and potentially build more cargo facilities at Budapest airport dedicated to handling Chinese cargo.

Budapest currently sees five weekly cargo services from Zhengzhou, including three operated by Hainan Airlines and two by Aerotranscargo. The flights are operated on behalf of the CECZ/Utlink logistics group.

Henan Province Airport Group is 23% owned by the Henan Civil Aviation Development Investment Company (HCAD) which owns China Central Longhao Airlines (GI, Zhengzhou) in China as well as a 35% stake in Cargolux (CV, Luxembourg). HCAD has also been linked to online retailer JD.com's nascent in-house cargo carrier, JD Air Cargo (Nantong).