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The cities of Békéscsaba and Gyula, in south-eastern Hungary, are poised to become the centres of aircraft manufacturing in the country's defence industry, the Minister of Innovation and Technology has said.

László Palkovics inspected the Airbus plant under construction in Gyula and held talks on vocational education and the upgrade of the airport in Békéscsaba. He told a briefing that the Airbus factory’s success was dependent on the development of the Békéscsaba airport. Also, Hungary must make sure that its education system has instructors with the required knowledge in aeronautics, he said, adding that the country must also develop its training equipment and convince Hungarian industry experts working abroad to return home. The government last year allocated 154 million forints (EUR 429,000) for the upgrade of the Békéscsaba airport. MTI understands that talks are ongoing on potentially extending the runway by 1,800 or 2,500 metres. Construction is expected to get under way next year. The airport must be able to handle both business and cargo flights. The minister also visited a vocational training centre in Békéscsaba where construction on a 2.2 billion forint metal industry training centre and advanced measurement technology and materials testing lab began this month.