Following months of anticipation and collaboration between Hungary, the United States, and third party carriers, Polish airline LOT announced on Friday, July 7 that it will re-launch non-stop service from Budapest’s Ferenc Liszt International Airport to Chicago O’Hare and New York JFK as soon as May 2018.

Speaking to reporters at a ceremony at Ferenc Liszt International Airport, Hungarian Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade Peter Szijjártó hailed the restoration of direct flights to the United States as an important development in US-Hungarian trade and investment. For the past five years, Hungary has been at a distinct competitive disadvantage because it lacked a direct air connection to the United States, said Minister Szijjártó.

The return of US services comes after American Airlines and Delta Air Lines left the Hungarian market in 2011, making the Central European airport New York’s largest unserved market in Europe and fourth largest unserved destination in the world.

The United States is Hungary’s largest non-EU investment partner and its largest source of foreign direct investment (FDI). US businesses operating in Hungary currently employ over 100,000 Hungarians.

“We are absolutely euphoric to announce LOT Polish Airline’s latest development at Budapest, uniting us with not just one destination in the US, but with two,” said Jost Lammers, CEO of Budapest Airport Zrt., the parent company responsible for operations at Ferenc Liszt International Airport. “Worldwide connectivity is crucial in today’s global economy and these vital links will boost the demand for travel and ultimately maximize the competitiveness of the Hungarian market,” he added.

Ferenc Liszt International Airport estimates that non-stop flights to New York and Chicago will carry 160,000 passengers between the United States and Hungary annually.

The first flight is scheduled for May 3, 2018.