Regarding the background of the program, it is important to highlight that the noise protection zone around Ferenc Liszt International Airport was designated in February 2016 by the aviation authority. The boundaries of this zone were established on the basis of Hungarian regulations – taking into account the expected air traffic development of the next ten years. However, Budapest Airport started a residential window insulation program in residential properties around the airport on a voluntary basis much earlier than that, , mainly in some parts of District XVII and XVIII of the capital, and in certain areas of Üllő and Vecsés. Between 2008 and 2020, around 1,500 property owners were invited to participate in the residential window insulation program. After repeated calls, this opportunity was seized by a total of 30% of the residents concerned.
In 2019, the owners and management of Budapest Airport decided voluntarily to significantly expand the noise protection program, which has been running for several years, increasing both the areas to be covered and the resources allocated to this program, and expanded the services available. However, due to the coronavirus outbreak, the start of the program had to be postponed due to the personal contact that the work would have involved.
In order to ensure that the program and the newly included areas were tailored to the needs of the residents, Budapest Airport initiated a consultation with the mayors of the districts and municipalities concerned at the beginning of 2022. By June 2022, after several negotiations, the 1.2 billion HUF program was finalized and it will be implemented over the next 3 years.
Services available under the program:
Retrofit window insulation:
- An extra 6 mm glass layer, which can reduce external noise by up to 10-12 decibels, may be requested for the internal side of the opening sash of the windows in the living rooms and bedrooms of houses.
- This can be requested free of charge in bedrooms for windows over 10 years old, or with cost-sharing in other rooms (e.g. living room).
Noise insulation for roller shutter casings:
- For windows where the roller shutter is located directly above the window in a casing, noise insulation of the roller shutter casing is also available free of charge.
- To ensure a peaceful night’s sleep, a noise insulated wall unit is also available free of charge for bedrooms, which allows fresh air to enter the bedroom from outside even when the window is closed, i.e. when external noises are blocked out.
Application to the program will be available from September 2022 in several phases. In the first phase, the expanded noise protection opportunities will be available in areas already covered by the program, ensuring that owners of properties in these areas can benefit from the expanded services. The program will then proceed in several steps, expanding the areas concerned step by step in the municipalities and districts concerned. Another new feature is that for the first time, some property owners in Kőbánya can also participate in the program, as District X was previously not included in the areas covered.
Budapest Airport will inform the owners of the 4,000 residential properties concerned by mail about the different rounds of the program, the details of the program and the application procedure. The program is open to all property owners who own a property in the designated area and meet the eligibility criteria. The application process for the program will be even faster and simpler than before, as owners of affected homes will be able to submit their application via a dedicated website.
Chris Dinsdale, chief executive officer of Budapest Airport said about the program: “Ferenc Liszt International Airport, together with the surrounding districts and municipalities, has been jointly developing the area for years, and Budapest Airport pays special attention to the quality of life of the people living in the area. It is very important for us to give all the support we can to residents in the area to minimize the noise impact of the airport.” He also added: “It is of particular importance to me that we have worked out the details of the program to be launched in September together with the municipalities, as we want to spend the 1.2 billion HUF available over the next 3 years in a way that maximizes its effectiveness.”
The airport operator will also use the proceeds collected from the deep sleep charges paid by airlines for take-offs and landings over Budapest between midnight and 5 a.m. to support the noise protection program. In addition, the company has started to insulate or replace windows in several schools and kindergartens located in the noise protection zone a year ago, choosing the institutions in cooperation with the municipalities concerned.