One of the world’s largest air carriers, Turkish Airlines, will be launching a direct ait passenger service between Budapest and the centre of Indian business life, Mumbai”, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade Péter Szijjártó announced at a press conference in Budapest on Tuesday in the recess of the session of the Hungarian-Turkish Economic Joint Committee.

He indicated that the required negotiations will begin immediately with Turkish Airlines and the Indian authorities. Justifying the move, Mr. Szijjártó stressed that interest in Hungary on the part of Indian investors is increasing dynamically, and accordingly, in his assessment, a direct air passenger route between Budapest and Mumbai will represent a major step forward for Hungarian-Eastern economic, trade and investment relations.

The Minister pointed out that since the bankruptcy of Hungarian state airline MALÉV there have been no long-haul flights from Budapest to the East, with the exception of the Budapest-Peking air passenger service. “This is particularly disadvantageous to Hungary in view of the fact that there is constantly increasing investment and trade interest in Hungary and in Central Europe from the East”, he said.

Moving on to the subject of Hungary’s natural gas supply, Mr. Szijjártó also said that in this regard the question of whether gas will be arriving in Hungary from a southernly direction from the early 2020s is extremely important. “One possible scenario is the construction of the Turkish Stream pipelines, and the shipment of natural gas to Central Europe via those”, the Minister said.

Citing the information provided by the Turkish Foreign Minister, Mr. Szijjártó told reporters that the construction of the second Turkish Stream pipeline is around 50 percent complete and could reach Turkey’s shores by next year. “From there, an important Russian-Turkish-Bulgarian-Serbian-Hungarian cooperation will begin in the interests of enabling the some 16 billion cubic metres of natural gas that the pipeline will be transporting  to reach Central Europe”, he explained. “With relation to this we already have a memorandum of understanding from Gazprom, and from the Bulgarian and Serbian gas pipeline management authorities”, the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade indicated.

“The Turkish Foreign Minister will now call for a meeting of the relative members of the Russian, Turkish, Serbian, Bulgarian and Hungarian Governments, whose cooperation is required to enable gas from the second Turkish Stream pipeline to soon reach Central Europe”, he told reporters. Mr. Szijjártó said this is of vital importance for Hungary, adding that Hungary would only need to realise a minimal investment of around 5 million euros to enable it to receive 6 billion cubic metres of natural gas from the south each year.